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Author of 

Familiar Wild Plovers," "History, Principles and Practice of Heraldry,' 
"Birth and Development of Ornament," &c., <~r. 




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The necessity of some special Sign to distinguish Individuals. Tribes, 
and Nations the Standards of Antiquity Egyptian, Assyrian, 
Persian, Greek, and Roman the Vexillum the Labarum of 
Constantine Invocation of Religion the Flags of the Enemy 
Early Flags of Religious Character Flags of Saints at Funeral 
Obsequies Company and Guild Flags of the Mediaeval Period 
Political Colours Various kinds of Flags the Banner Rolls 
of Arms Roll of Karlaverok The Flag called the Royal Stan- 
dard is really the Royal Banner Main-sail Banners Trumpet 
Banners Ladies embroidering Banners for the Cause Knights' 
Banneret Form of Investiture the Standard the Percy Badges 
and Motto Arctic Sledge-flags the Rank governing the size 
of the Standard Standards at State Funerals the Pennon- 
Knights' Pennonciers the Pennoncelle Mr. Rolt as Chief 
Mourner Lord Mayor's Show the Pennant the Streamer 
Tudor Badges Livery Colours the Guidon Bunting Flag 
Devising a Branch of Heraldry Colours chiefly used in Flags 
Flags bearing Inscriptions Significance of the Red Flag of the 
Yellow of the White -of the Black Dipping the Flag -the 
Sovereignty of the Sea Right of Salute insisted on Political 
changes rendering Flags obsolete ... ... ... ... I 


The Royal Standard the Three Lions of England the Lion 
Rampant of Scotland Scottish sensitiveness as to precedence 
the Scottish Tressure the Harp of Ireland Early Irish 
Flags Brian Boru the Royal Standards from Richard I. 
to Victoria Claim to the Fleurs-de-lys of France Quartering 
Hanover the Union Flag St. George for England War 
Cry Observance of St. George's Day the Cross of St. 
George Early Naval Flags the London Trained Bands the 
Cross of St. Andrew the " Blue Blanket "Flags of the 
Covenanters Relics of St. Andrew Union of England and 
Scotland the First Union Flag Importance of accuracy in 
representations of it the Union Jack Flags of the Common- 
wealth and Protectorate Union of Great Britain and Ireland 



CHAPTER II. (continued) 

the Cross of St. Patrick Labours of St. Patrick in Ireland- 
Proclamation of George III. as to Flags, etc. the Second 
Union Flag Heraldic Difficulties in its Construction Sugges- 
tions by Critics Regulations as to Fortress Flags the White 
Ensign of the Royal Navy Saluting the Flag the Navy the 
Safeguard of Britain the Blue Ensign the Royal Naval Reserve 
the Red Ensign of the Mercantile Marine Value of Flag-lore 29 


Army Flags the Queen's Colour the Regimental Colour the 
Honours and Devices the Flag of the 24th Regiment Facings 
Flag of the King's Own Borderers What the Flag Symbolises 
Colours of the Guards the Assaye Flag Cavalry Flags 
Presentation of Colours Chelsea College Chapel Flags of the 
Buffs in Canterbury Cathedral Flags of the Scottish Regiments 
in St. Giles's Cathedral Burning of Rebel Flags by the Hang- 
man Special Flags for various Official Personages Special 
Flags for different Government Departments the Lord High 
Admiral the Mail Flag White Ensign of the Royal Yacht 
Squadron Yacht Ensigns and Burgees House or Company 
Flags How to express Colours with Lines the Allan Tricolor 
Port Flags the British Empire the Colonial Blue Ensign 
and Pendant the Colonial Defence Act Colonial Mercantile 
Flag Admiralty Warrant Flag of the Governor of a Colony 
the Green Garland the Arms of the Dominion of Canada- 
Badges of the various Colonies Daniel Webster on the Might 
of England Bacon on the Command of the Ocean ... ... 6x 


The Flag of Columbus Early Settlements in North America the 
Birth of the United States Early Revolutionary and State 
Flags the Pine-tree Flag the Rattle-snake Flag the Stars 
and Stripes Early Variations of it the Arms of Washington- 
Entry of New States into the Union the Eagle the Flag of 
the President Secession of the Southern States State Flags 
again the Stars and Bars the Southern Cross -the Birth of 
the German Empire the Influence of War Songs Flags of the 
Empire Flags of the smaller German States the Austro- 
Hungary Monarchy the Flags of Russia the Crosses of St. 
Andrew and St. George again the Flags of France St. Martin 
the Oriflamme the Fleurs-de-lys Their Origin the White 
Cross the White Flag of the Bourbons the Tricolor the Red 


CHAPTER IV. (continued) 

Flag the Flags of Spain of Portugal the Consummation of 
Italian Unity the Arms of Savoy the Flags of Italy of the 
Temporal Power of the Papacy the Flag of Denmark its 
Celestial Origin the Flags of Norway and Sweden of Switzer- 
land Cantonal Colours the Geneva Convention the Flags of 
Holland of Belgium of Greece the Crescent of Turkey 
the Tughra the Flags of Roumania, Servia, and Bulgaria 
Flags of Mexico, and of the States of Southern and Central 
America of Japan the Rising Sun the Chrysanthemum 
the Flags of China. Siam and Corea of Sarawak of the Orange 
Free State, Liberia, Congo State, and the Transvaal Republic 86 


Flags as a Means of Signalling Army Signalling the Morse 
Alphabet Navy Signalling First Attempts at Sea Signals- 
Old Signal Books in Library of Royal United Service Institution 
" England s expects that every man will do his duty " Sinking 
Signal Codes on defeat Present System of Signalling in 
Royal Navy Pilot Signals Weather Signalling by Flags 
the International Signal Code First Published in 1857 
Seventy-eight Thousand Different Signals possible Why no 
Vowels used Lloyd's Signal Stations ... ... ... 127 

ALPHABETICAL INDEX TO TEXT ... ... ... ... ... 141 

INDEX TO COLOURED PLATES ... ... ... ... ... 149 



The necessity of some special Sign to distinguish Individuals, Tribes, and 
Nations the Standards of Antiquity Egyptian, Assyrian, Persian, Greek, and 
Roman the Vexillum The Labarum of Constantino Invocation of Religion 
the Flags of the Enemy Early Flags of Religious Character Flags of Saints at 
Funeral Obsequies Company and Guild Flags of the Mediaeval Period Political 
Colours Various kinds of Flags -the Banner Rolls of Arms Roll of Karla- 
verok The Flag called the Royal Standard is really the Royal Banner Main- 
sail Banners Trumpet Banners Ladies embroidering Banners for the Cause 
Knights' Banneret Form of Investiture the Standard the Percy Badges and 
Motto Arctic Sledge-flags the Rank governing the size of the Standard 
Standards at State Funerals the Pennon Knights-Pennonciers the Pennon- 
celle Mr. Roll as Chief Mourner Lord Mayor's Show the Pennant the 
Streamer Tudor Badges Livery Colours the Guidon Bunting Flag Devising 
a Branch of Heraldry Colours chiefly used in Flags Flags bearing Inscriptions 
Significance of the Red Flag of the Yellow of the White -of the Black- 
Dipping the Flag the Sovereignty of the Sea Right of Salute insisted on 
Political Changes rendering Flags obsolete. 

SO soon as man passes from the lowest stage of barbarism the 
necessity for some special sign, distinguishing man from man, 
tribe from tribe, nation from nation, makes itself felt; and this 
prime necessity once met, around the symbol chosen spirit-stirring 
memories quickly gather that endear it, and make it the emblem 
of the power and dignity of those by whom it is borne. The painted 
semblance of grizzly bear, or beaver, or rattlesnake on the canvas 
walls of the tepi of the prairie Brave, the special chequering of 
colours that compose the tartan * of the Highland clansman, are 
examples of this ; and as we pass from individual or local tribe to 
mighty nations, the same influence is still at work, and the dis- 
tinctive Union Flag of Britain, the tricolor of France, the gold 
and scarlet bars of the flag of Spain, all alike appeal with irresistible 
force to the patriotism of those born beneath their folds, and speak 
to them of the glories and greatness of the historic past, the duties 
of the present, and the hopes of the future inspiring those who 
gaze upon their proud blazonry with the determination to be no 
unworthy sons of their fathers, but to live, and if need be to die, 
for the dear home-land of which these are the symbol. 

* " Every Isle differs from each other In their Fancy of making PI 
in Breadth and Colours. This Humour is as different through the ma 
lands in so far that they who have seen those Places are able at the 
Plad to guess the Place of his Residence." Martin's " Description of 
1703. See also "Old and Rare Scottish Tartans," by Donald Stew 
actual pieces woven in silk to a reduced scale. The latest tartan, t 
detissd by Prince Albert in the yeat 1848. 

ds, as to the Stripes 
n Land of the High- 
irst View of a man's 
le Western Islands," 
rt, all illustrated by 
at of Balmoral, waa 


The standards used by the nations of antiquity differed in nature 
from the flags that in mediaeval and modern days have taken their 
place. These earlier symbols were ordinary devices wrought in 
metal, and carried at the head of poles or spears. Thus the hosts 
of Egypt marched to war beneath the shadow of the various sacred 
animals that typified their deities, or the fan-like arrangement of 
feathers that symbolised the majesty of Pharoah, while the 
Assyrian standards, to be readily seen represented on the slabs 
from the palaces of Khorsabad and Kyonjik, in the British 
Museum and elsewhere, were circular disks of metal containing 
various distinctive devices. Both these and the Egyptian stand- 
ards often have in addition a small flag-like streamer attached 
to the staff immediately below the device. The Greeks in like 
manner employed the Owl of Athene, and such -like religious and 
patriotic symbols of the protection of the deities, though Homer, 
it will be remembered, makes Agamemnon use a piece of purple 
cloth as a rallying point for his followers. The sculptures of 
Persepolis show us that the Persians adopted the figure of the Sun, 
the eagle, and the like. In Rome a hand erect, or the figures of 
the horse, wolf, and other animals were used, but at a later period 
the eagle alone was employed. Pliny tells us that " Caius Marius 
in his second consulship ordained that the Roman legions should 
only have the Eagle for their standard. For before that time the 
Eagle marched foremost with four others, wolves, minatours, horses, 
and bears each one in its proper order. Not many years past the 
Eagle alone began to be advanced in battle, and the rest were left 
behind in the camp. But Marius rejected them altogether, and 
since this it is observed that scarcely is there a camp of a Legion 
wintered at any time without having a pair of Eagles." The eagle, 
we need scarcely stay to point out, obtained this pre-eminence as 
being the bird of Jove. The Vexillum, or cavalry flag, was, accord- 
ing to Livy, a square piece of cloth fixed to a cross bar at the end 
of a spear ; this was often richly fringed, and was either plain or 
bore certain devices upon it, and was strictly and properly a flag. 
The ensigns which distinguished the allied forces from the legions 
of the Romans were also of this character. Examples of these 
vexilla may be seen on the sculptured columns of Trajan and 
Antoninus, the arch of Titus, and upon various coins and medals 
of ancient Rome. 

The Imperial Standard or Labarum carried before Constantino 
and his successors resembled the cavalry Vexillum.* It was of 
purple silk, richly embroidered with gold, and though ordinarily 

In mediaeval days the pastoral staff or crook of the bishop often had a small scarf 
attached to it. This was known as the vexillum, and was supposed to be derived from th 
Labarum, or standard of the first Christian emperor, Const inline the Great. 


suspended from a horizontal cross-bar, was occasionally displayed 
in accordance with our modern usage by attachment by one of its 
sides to the staff. 

The Roman standards were guarded with religious veneration 
in the temples of the metropolis and of the chief cities of 
the Empire, and modern practice has followed herein the 
ancient precedent. As in classic days the protection of Jove 
was invoked, so in later days the blessing of Jehovah, the Lord 
of Hosts, has been sought. At the presentation of colours to a 
regiment a solemn service of prayer and praise is held, and when 
these colours return in honour, shot-rent from victorious conflict, 
they are reverently placed in stately abbey, venerable cathedral, 
or parish church, never more to issue from the peace and rest of 
the home of God until by lapse of years they crumble into indis- 
tinguishable dust. 

The Israelites carried the sacred standard of the Maccabees, 
with the initial letters of the Hebrew text, " Who is like unto Thee, 
O God, amongst the gods ? " The Emperor Constantine caused 
the sacred monogram of Christ to be placed on the Labarum, and 
when the armies of Christendom went forth to rescue the Holy 
Land from the infidel they received their cross-embroidered 
standards from the foot of the altar. Pope Alexander II. sent a 
consecrated white banner to Duke William previous to his 
expedition against Harold, and we read in the " Beehive of the 
Romish Church," published in 1580, how "the Spaniardes 
christen, conjure, and hallow their Ensignes, naming one Barbara, 
another Katherine," after the names of saints whose aid they 
invoked in the stress of battle. We may see this invocation again 
very well in Figs. 147, 148 : flags borne by the colonists of Massa- 
chusetts when they arrayed themselves against the mercenaries 
of King George, and appealed to the God of Battles in behalf of the 
freedom and justice denied by those who bore rule over them. 

This recognition of the King of kings has led also to the 
captured banners of the enemy being solemnly suspended in 
gratitude and thanksgiving in the house of God. Thus Speed tells 
us that on the dispersal and defeat of the Armada, Queen Elizabeth 
commanded solemn thanksgiving to be celebrated at the Cathedral 
Church of St. Paul's, in her chief city of London, which accord- 
ingly was done upon Sunday, the 8th of September, when eleven of 
the Spanish ensigns were hung, to the great joy of the beholders, as 
"psalmes of praise" for England's deliverance from sore peril. Very 
appropriately, too, hi the Chapel of the Royal College at Chelsea, 
the home of the old soldiers who helped to win them, hang the 
flags taken at Barrosa, Martinique, Bhurtpore, Seringapatam, 
Salamanca, Waterloo, and many another hard-fought struggle ; 


and thus, in like manner, is the tomb of Napoleon I., in Paris, 
surrounded by trophies of captured flags. On March 3oth, 1814, 
the evening before the entry of the Allies into Paris, about 1,500 
flags the victorious trophies of Napoleon were burnt in the 
Court of the Eglise des Invalides, to prevent their falling into the 
hands of the enemy. 

Early flags were almost purely of a religious character.* The 
first notice of banners in England is in Bede's description of the 
interview between the heathen King Ethelbert and Augustine, the 
missionary from Rome, where the followers of the latter are 
described as bearing banners on which were displayed silver 
crosses; and we need scarcely pause to point out that in Roman 
Catholic countries, where the ritual is emotional and sensuous, 
banners of this type are still largely employed to add to the pomp 
of religious processions. Heraldic and political devices upon flags 
are of later date, and even when these came freely into use their 
presence did not supplant the ecclesiastical symbols. The national 
banner of England for centuries the ruddy cross of her patron 
Saint George (Fig. 91) was a religious one, and, whatever 
other banners were carried, this was ever foremost in the field. The 
Royal banner of Great Britain and Ireland that we see in Fig. 44, 
in its rich blazonry of the lions of England and Scotland and the 
Irish harp, is a good example of the heraldic flag, while our Union 
flag (Fig. go), equally symbolizes the three nations of the United 
Kingdom, but this time by the allied crosses of the three patron 
saints, St. George, St. Andrew, and St. Patrick, and it is therefore 
a lineal descendant and exemplar of the religious influence that was 
once all-powerful. 

The ecclesiastical flags were often purely pictorial in character, 
being actual representations of the Persons of the Trinity, of the 
Virgin Mother, or of divers saints. At other times the monasteries 
and other religious houses bore banners of heraldic character ; as 
the leading ecclesiastics were both lords temporal and lords 
spiritual, taking their places in the ranks of fighting men and lead- 
ing on the field the body of dependants and retainers that they were 
required to maintain in aid of the national defence. In such case 

* In Favyn's book, " Le The'atre d'honneur et de Chevalerie," published in Paris some 
two hundred and fifty years ago, we read of " Le grand estendard de satin bleu celeste 
double en riche broderie de fleurs de lys d'or de Chypre a une grande croix plein de satin 
blanc, qui est la croix de France. 

" Le grand estendard Saint Michel ange gardien de la France, de satin bleu celeste de 
riche broderie d'or de Chypre, seme d'estoiles d'or. 

" Le grand estendard de 1'ordre du benoist Saint-Esprit, faict de double satin verd 3 
une columbe d'argent, rayonn d'or de riche broderie, le rest sem6 de flauimes d'or." 

Joan of Arc had a white standard powdered over with gold fleurs-de-lys, and in the 
centre a figure of Christ sitting on a rainbow, and holding a globe. On either side ah 
angel in the posture of adoration, and, underneath, the words " J hesu, Maria." On anothof 
she had the Annunciation, and the words " Ave Maria." These were painted at Toui 3t 
'' par James Power, E-cossais, 1'eintre du Hoi." 


the distinguishing banner of the contingent conformed in character 
to the heraldic cognisances of the other nobles in the host. 
Fig. 77, for instance, was the banner of St. Alban's Abbey. In a 
poem on the capture of Rouen by the English, in the year 1418, 
written by an eye-witness of the scenes described, we read how the 
English commander 

"To the Castelle firste he rode 
And sythen the citie all abrode, 
Lengthe and brede he it mette 
And riche baneres up he sette 
Upon the Porte Seint Hillare 
A Baner of the Trynyte ; 
And at Porte Kaux he sette ever a 
A Baner of the Quene of Heven ; 
And at Porte Martvile he upplyt 
Of Seint George a Baner breight." 

and not until this recognition of Divine and saintly aid was made 

" He sette upon the Castelle to stonde 
The armys of Fraunce and Englond." 

Henry V., at Agincourt, in like manner displayed at his head- 
quarters on the field not only his own arms, but, in place of special 
honour and prominence, the banners of the Trinity, of St. George, 
and of St. Edward. These banners of religious significance were 
often borne from the monasteries to the field of battle, while monks 
and priests in attendance on them invoked the aid of Heaven 
during the strife. In an old statement of accounts, still existing, 
we read that Edward I. made a payment of 8d. a day to a priest 
of Beverley for earring throughout one of his campaigns a banner 
bearing the figure of St. John. St. Wilfred's banner from Ripon, 
together with this banner of St. John from Beverley, were brought 
on to the field at Northallerton ; the flag of St. Denis was carried 
in the armies of St. Louis and of Philip le Bel, and the banner of 
St. Cuthbert of Durham was borrowed by the Earl of Surrey in his 
expedition against Scotland in the reign of Henry VIII. This 
banner had the valuable reputation of securing victory to those 
who fought under it. It was suspended from a horizontal bar 
below a spear head, and was a yard or so in breadth and a little 
more than this in depth ; the bottom edge had five deep indenta- 
tions. The banner was of red velvet sumptuously enriched with 
gold embroidery, and in the centre was a piece of white velvet, 
half a yard square, having a cross of red velvet upon it. This 
central portion covered and protected a relic of the saint. The 
victory of Neville's Cross, October i7th, 1346, was held to be largely 

6 in* WAGS of THE 

due to the presence of this sacred banner, and the triumph at 
Flodden was also ascribed to it. 

Daring the prevalence of Roman Catholicism in England, we 
find that banners of religious type entered largely into the funeral 
obsequies of persons of distinction : thus at the burial of Arthur, 
Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Henry VII., we find a banner of 
the Trinity, another with the cross and instruments of the Passion 
depicted upon it ; another of the Virgin Mary, and yet another with 
a representation of St. George. Such banners, as in the present 
instance, were ordinarily four in number, and carried immediately 
round the body at the four corners of the bier. Thus we read in 
the diary of an old chronicler, Machyn, who lived in the reigns of 
Edward VI., Mary, and Elisabeth, that at the burial of the Countess 
of Arundel, October zyth, 1557, " cam iiij herroldes in ther cotes of 
armes, and bare iiij baners of emages at the iiij corners." Again, 
on " Aprell xxix, 1554, was bered my Lady Dudley in Saint Mar- 
garett in Westminster, with iiij baners of emages." Another item 
deals with the funeral of the Duchess of Northumberland, and here 
again "the iiij baners of ymages" again recur. Anyone having 
the old records, church inventories, and the like before them, would 
find it easy enough, as easy as needless, to multiply illustrations of 
this funeral use of pictured banners. These " emages " or " ymages " 
of old Machyn are of course not images in the sense of sculptured 
or carved things, but are painted and embroidered representations 
of various saints. Machyn, as a greatly interested looker-on at all 
the spectacles of his day, is most entertaining, but his spelling, 
according to the severer notions of the present day, is a little weak, 
as, for instance, in the following words that we have culled at 
random from his pages : prossessyon, gaffelyns, fezyssyoun, 
dysquyet, neckclygens, gorgyusle, berehyng, wypyd, pelere, artelere, 
and dyssys of spyssys. The context ordinarily makes the meaning 
clear, but as our readers have not that advantage, we give the same 
words according to modern orthography procession, javelins, 
physician, disquiet, negligence, gorgeously, burying, whipped, pillory, 
artillery, dishes of spices. 

The various companies and guilds of the mediaeval period had 
their special flags that came out, as do those of their successors 
of the present day, on the various occasions of civic pageantry ; 
and in many cases, as may be seen in the illuminated MSS. in the 
British Museum and elsewhere, they were carried to battle as the 
insignia of the companies of men provided at the expense of those 
corporations. Thus in one example that has come under our notice 
we see a banner bearing a chevron between hammer, trowels, and 
builder's square; in another between an axe and two pairs of 
compasses, while a third on its azure field bears a pair of golden 


shears. In the representation of a battle between Philip d'Artevelde 
and the Flemings against the French, many of the flags therein 
introduced bear the most extraordinary devices, boots and shoes, 
drinking- vessels, anvils, and the like, that owe their presence there 
to the fact that various trade guilds sent their contingents of men 
to the fight. In a French work on mediaeval guilds we find the 
candle-makers of Bayeux marching beneath a black banner with 
three white candles on it, the locksmiths of La Rochelle having a 
scarlet flag with four golden keys on it. The lawyers of Loudoun 
had a flag with a large eye on it (a single eye to business being, we 
presume, understood), while those of Laval had a blue banner with 
three golden mouths thereon. In like manner the metal-workers 
of Laval carried a black flag with a silver hammer and files de- 
picted on it, those of Niort had a red flag with a silver cup and a 
fork and spoon in gold on either side. The metal-workers of 
Ypres also carried a red flag, and on this was represented a golden 
flagon and two buckles of gold. Should some national stress this 
year or next lead our City Companies, the Fishmongers, the Car- 
penters, the Vintners, and others to contribute contingents to the 
defence of the country, and to send them forth beneath the banners 
of the guilds, history would but repeat itself. 

In matters political the two great opposing parties have their 
distinctive colours, and these have ordinarily been buff and blue, 
though the association of buff with the Liberal party and " true 
blue " with the Conservatives has been by no means so entirely a 
matter of course as persons who have not looked into the matter 
might be disposed to imagine. The local colours are often those 
that were once the livery colours of the principal family in the 
district, and were assumed by its adherents for the family's sake 
quite independently of its political creed. The notion of livery te 
now an unpleasant one, but in mediaeval days the colours of the 
great houses were worn by the whole country-side, and the wearing 
carried with it no suggestion either of toadyism or servitude. As 
this influence was hereditary and at one time all-powerful, the 
colour of the Castle, or Abbey, or Great House, became stereotyped 
in that district as the symbol of the party of which these princely 
establishments were the local centre and visible evidence, and the 
colour still often survives locally, though the political and social 
system that originated it has passed away in these days of 
democratic independence. 

It would clearly be a great political gain if one colour were all 
over Great Britain the definite emblem of one side, as many 
illiterate voters are greatly influenced by the colours worn by 
the candidates for their suffrages, and have sufficient sense of con- 
sistency of principle to vote always for the flag that first claimed 


their allegiance, though it may very possibly be that if they move 
to another county it is the emblem of a totally distinct party, and 
typifies opinions to which the voter has always been opposed. At 
a late election a Yorkshire Conservative, who had acquired a vote 
for Bournemouth, was told that he must " vote pink," but this he 
very steadily refused to do. He declared that he would " never 
vote owt else but th' old true blue," so the Liberal party secured his 
vote ; and this sort of thing at a General Election is going on all over 
the country. The town of Royston, for instance, stands partly in 
Hertfordshire and partly in Cambridgeshire, and in the former 
county the Conservatives and in the latter the Liberals are the 
blue party ; hence the significance of the colour in one street of 
the little town is entirely different to that it bears in another. At 
Horsham in Sussex we have observed that the Conservative colour 
is pale pink, while in Richmond in Surrey it is a deep orange. 
The orange was adopted by the Whigs out of compliment to 
William III., who was Prince of Orange. 

In the old chronicles and ballads reference is made to many 
forms of flags now obsolete. The term flag is a generic one, and 
covers all the specific kinds. It is suggested that the word is 
derived from the Anglo-Saxon verb fleogan, to fly or float in the 
wind, or from the old German flackern, to flutter. Ensign is an 
alternative word formed on the idea of the display of insignia, 
badges, or devices, and was formerly much used where we should 
now employ the word colours. The company officers in a regiment 
who were until late years termed ensigns were at a still earlier 
period more correctly termed ensign-bearers. Milton, it will be 
recalled, describes a " Bannered host under spread ensigns march- 
ing." Sir Walter Scott greatly enlarges our vocabulary when he 
writes in " Marmion " of where 

"A thousand streamers flaunted fair, 
. Various in shape, device, and hue, 
Green, sanguine, purple, red, and blue, 
Broad, narrow, swallow-tailed, and square, 
Scroll, pennon, pensil, bandrol, there 
O'er the pavilions flew," 

while Milton again writes of 

" Ten thousand thousand ensigns high advanced. 
Standards and gonfalons 'twixt van and rear 
Stream in the air, and for distinction serve 
Of hierarchies, orders, and degrees." 

We have seen that the pomp of funeral display led to the use 
of pictorial flags of religious type, and with these were associated 
others that dealt with the mundane rank and position of the 


deceased. Thus we find Edmonson, in his book on Heraldry, 
writing as follows : " The armorial ensigns, as fixed by the officers 
of arms, and through long and continued usage established as 
proper to be carried in funeral processions, are pennons, guidons, 
cornets, standards, banners, and banner-rolls, having thereon 
depicted the arms, quarterings, badges, crests, supporters, and 
devices of the defunct : together with all such other trophies of 
honour as in his lifetime he was entitled to display, carry, or wear 
in the .field ; banners charged with the armorial ensigns of such 
dignities, titles, offices, civil and military, as were possessed or 
enjoyed by the defunct at the time of his decease, and banner-rolls 
of his own matches and lineal descent both on the paternal and 
maternal side. In case the defunct was an Archbishop, banner- 
rolls of the arms and insignia of the sees to which he had been 
elected and translated, and if he was a merchant or eminent trader 
pennons of the particular city, corporation, guild, fraternity, craft, 
or company whereof he had been a member." However true the 
beautiful stanza of Gray 

" The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power, 

And all that beauty, all that wealth ere gave, 
Await at last the inevitable hour, 
The paths of glory lead but to the grave " 

the survivors of the deceased most naturally and most justly bore 
to their rest those to whom honour was due with the full respect to 
which their career on earth entitled them. 

The names bestowed upon the different kinds of flags have 
varied from time to time, the various authorities of mediaeval 
and modern days not being quite of one mind sometimes, so that 
while the more salient forms are easily identifiable, some little ele- 
ment of doubt creeps in when we would endeavour to bestow with 
absolute precision a name to a certain less common form before us, 
or a definite form to a name that we encounter in some old writer. 
Whatever looseness of nomenclature, however, may be encountered 
on the fringe of our subject, the bestowal of the leading terms is 
sufficiently definite, and it is to these we now turn our attention, 
reflecting for our comfort that it is of far greater value to us to 
know all about a form that is of frequent recurrence, and to which 
abundant reference is made, than to be able to quite satisfactorily 
decide what special name some abnormal form should carry, or 
what special form is meant by a name that perhaps only occurs 
once or twice in the whole range of literature, and even that perhaps 
by some poet or romance writer who has thought more of the 
general effect of his description than of the technical accuracy 
of the terms in which he has clothed it. 


The Banner first engages our attention. This was ordinarily, in 
the earlier days of chivalry, a square flag, though in later examples 
it may be found somewhat greater in length than in depth, and in 
some early examples it is considerably greater in depth than in its 
degree of projection outwards from the lance. In the technical 
language of the subject, the part of a flag nearest the pole is called 
the hoist, and the outer part the fly. Fig. 37 is a good illustra- 
tion of this elongated form. It has been suggested that the short- 
ness of the fly in such cases was in order that the greater fluttering 
in the wind that such a form as Fig. 30 would produce might be 
prevented, as this constant tugging at the lance-head would be dis- 
agreeable to the holder, while it might, in the rush of the charge, 
prevent that accuracy of aim that one would desire to give one's 
adversary the full benefit of at such a crisis in his career. Pretty 
as this may be as a theory, there is probably not much in it, or 
the form in those warlike days of chivalry would have been more 
generally adopted. According to an ancient authority the banner 
of an emperor should be six feet square ; of a king, five ; of a prince 
or duke, four ; and of an earl, marquis, viscount, or baron three feet 
square. When we consider that the great function of the banner 
was to bear upon its surface the coat-of-arms of its owner, and that 
this coat was emblazoned upon it and filled up its entire surface 
in just the same way that we find these changes represented upon 
his shield, it is evident that no form that departed far either hi 
length or breadth from the square would be suitable for their dis- 
play. Though heraldically it is allowable to compress or extend 
any form from its normal proportions when the exigencies of space 
demand it,* it is'clearly better to escape this when possible.! The 
arms depicted in Fig. 37 are certainly not the better for the 
elongation to which they have been subjected, while per contra the 
bearings on any of the banners in Figs, i, 2, 3,4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, or n, 
have had no despite done them, the square form being clearly well- 
adapted for their due display. 

The Rolls of Arms prepared on various occasions by the 
mediaeval and later heralds form an admirable storehouse of 
examples. Some of these have been reproduced in facsimile, and 
are, therefore, more or less readily accessible. We have before 
us as we write the roll of the arms of the Sovereign and of the 

* Thus the Cross of St. George would be normally represented as in Fig. 91, but we 
find it much elongated in Figs. 12 and 14, much widened out in Figs vj and 56, and yet 
more so on the shield of the arms of the Dominion of Canada in Fig. 129. 

t We do not pause to explain the meaning of any heraldic terms that we are obliged to 
employ. Such terms may be readily found in any technical book on blazonry, and we have 
ourselves, in " The History, Principles and Practice of Heraldry," gone very thoroughly 
into the meaning and use of the various forms that enter into the blazonry of shield or 
banner, and do not, therefore, repeat these matters here. 


spiritual and temporal peers who sat in Parliament In the year 
1515, and another excellent example that has been reproduced is 
the roll of Karlaverok. This Karlaverok was a fortress on the 
north side of Solway Frith, which it was necessary for Edward I. 
to reduce on his invasion of Scotland in the year 1300, and this 
investiture and all the details of the siege are minutely described 
by a contemporary writer, who gives the arms and names of all 
the nobles there engaged. As soon as the castle fell into Edward's 
hands he caused his banner and that of St. Edmund (Fig. 17), and 
St. Edward (Fig. 19), to be displayed upon its battlements. The 
roll is written in Norman French, of which the following passage 
may be given as an example : 

" La ont meinte riche garnement 
Erode sur cendeaus et samis 
Meint beau penon en lance mis 
Meint baniere desploie." 

That is to say, there were in modern English wording many rich 
devices embroidered on silk and satin, many a beautiful pennon 
fixed on lance, many a banner displayed. The writer says: 
" First, I will tell you of the names and arms, especially of the 
banners, if you will listen how." Of these numerous banners we 
give some few examples : Fig. i belongs to him " who with a light 
heart, doing good to all, bore a yellow banner and pennon with a 
black saltire engrailed, and is called John Botetourte." Fig. 2 is 
the banner of Sire Ralph de Monthermer ; Fig. 3 the devices of 
Touches, " a knight of good-fame " ; while Fig. 4, " the blue with 
crescents of brilliant gold," was the flag of William de Ridre. 
" Sire John de Holderton, who at all times appears well and 
promptly in arms," bore No. 6, the fretted silver on the scarlet 
field ; while Fig. 5 is the cognisance of " Hugh Bardolph, a man of 
good appearance, rich, valiant, and courteous." Fig 7 is the well- 
known lion of the Percys, and is here the banner of Henri de 
Percy ; we meet with it again in Fig. 14. Fig. 8 is " the banner of 
good Hugh de Courtenay," while Fig. 9 is that of the valiant 
Aymer de Valence. Fig 10 bears the barbels of John de Bar, 
while the last example we need give (Fig. 1 1) is the banner of Sire 
William de Grandison. Of whom gallant, courteous Englishmen as 
they were, we can now but say that " they are dust, their swords 
are rust," and deny them not the pious hope " their souls are with 
the saints, we trust." 

The well-known flag (Fig. 44), that everyone recognises as the 
Royal Standard, is nevertheless misnamed, as it should undoubtedly 
be called the Royal Banner, since it bears the arms of the 
Sovereign in precisely the same way that any of our preceding 


examples bear the arms of the knights with whom they were 
associated. A standard, as we shall see presently, is an entirely 
different kind of flag ; nevertheless, the term Royal Standard is so 
firmly established that it is hopeless now to think of altering it, 
and as it would be but pedantry to ignore it, and substitute in its 
place, whenever we have occasion to refer to it, its proper title 
the Royal Banner we must, having once made our protest, be 
content to let the matter stand. Figs. 22, 43, 44, 194, 226, and 245 
are all royal or imperial banners, but popular usage insists that we 
shall call them royal or imperial "standards," so, henceforth, 
rightly or wrongly, through our pages standards they must be. 

The banners of the Knights of the Garter, richly emblazoned 
with their armorial bearings, are suspended over their stalls in St. 
George's Chapel, Windsor, while those of the Knights of the Bath 
are similarly displayed in the Chapel of Henry VII. in Westminster 

The whole of the great mainsail of a mediaeval ship was often 
emblazoned with arms, and formed one large banner. This usage 
may be very well seen in the illuminations, seals, etc., of that period. 
As early as the year 1247 we n d Otho, Count of Gueldres, repre- 
sented as bearing on his seal a square banner charged with his 
arms, a lion rampant ; and in a window in the Cathedral of Our 
Lady, at Chartres, is a figure of Simon de Montfort, Earl of 
Leicester from 1236 to 1265. He is depicted as bearing in his 
right hand a banner of red and white, as shown in Fig. 18. 

References in the old writers to the banner are very numerous. 
Thus in the " Story of Thebes " we read of "the fell beastes," that 
were " wrought and bete upon their bannres displaied brode " 
when men went forth to war. Lydgate, in the " Battle of 
Agincourt," writes : 

"By myn baner sleyn will y be 
Or y will turne my backe or me yelde." 

The same writer declares that at the siege of Harfleur by 
Henry V., in September, 1415, the king 

"Mustred his meyne faire before the town, 
And many other lordes, I dar will say, 
With baners bryghte and many penoun." 

The trumpeters of the Life Guards and Horse Guards have the 
Royal Banner attached to their instruments, a survival that recalls 
the lines of Chaucer : 

" On every trump hanging a brode bannere 
Of fine tartarium, full richly bete." 


An interesting reference is found in a letter of Queen Katharine 
of Arragon to Thomas Wolsey, dated Richmond, August isth, 
1513, while King Henry VIII. was in France. Speaking of war 
with the Scots, her Majesty says : " My hert is veray good to 
it, and I am horrible besy with making standards, banners, and 
bagies." * 

While the men are buckling on their armour for the coming 
strife, wives, sisters, sweethearts, daughters, with proud hearts, 
give their aid, and with busy fingers despite the tear that will 
sometimes blur the vision of the gay embroidery swiftly and 
deftly labour with loving care on the devices that will nerve the 
warriors to living steel in the shock of battle. The Queen of 
England, so zealously busy in her task of love, is but a type and 
exemplar of thousands of her sex before and since. The raven 
standard of the Danish invaders of Northumbria was worked by 
the daughters of Regnar Lodbrok, and in the great rebellion in the 
West of England many a gentlewoman suffered sorely in the foul 
and Bloody Assize for her zealous share in providing the insurgents 
with the standards around which they rallied. The Covenanters of 
Scotland, the soldiers of Garibaldi freeing Italy from the Bourbons, 
the levies of Kossuth in Hungary, the Poles in the deadly grip of 
Russia, the armies of the Confederate States in America, the 
Volunteers who would fain free Greece from the yoke of the 
Turk.f all fought to the death beneath the banners that fair 
sympathisers with them, and with their cause, placed in their 
hands. When two great nations, such as France aud Germany, 
fall to blows, the whole armament, weapons, flags, and whatever 
else may be necessary, is supplied from the government stores 
according to regulation pattern, but in the case of insurgents 
against authority struggling rightly or wrongly to be free, the 
weapons may be scythe blades or whatever else comes first to hand, 
while the standards borne to the field will bear the most extra- 
ordinary devices upon them, devices that appeal powerfully at the 
time to those fighting beneath their folds, but which give a shudder 
to the purist in heraldic blazonry, as for instance, to quote but one 
example, the rattle-snake flag with its motto "Beware how you 
tread on me," adopted by the North American colonists in their 
struggle against the troops of George III. 

When a knight had performed on the field of battle some espe- 
cially valiant or meritorious act, it was open to the Sovereign to 

* <.*., badges. 

t " Lord Gordon has arrived at Nauplia. He has brought the Greeks a number of 
fnsigns, embroidered by Scotch ladies, and sent by thn>.' Salisbury c,d Winchote' 
Jontnal, December *7th, 1824. 


mark his sense of it by making him a knight-banneret. Thus, in 
the reign of Edward III., John de Copeland was made a banneret 
for his service in taking prisoner David Bruce, the King of Scot- 
land, at the battle of Durham; Colonel John Smith, having rescued 
the royal banner from the Parliamentarians at Edgehill, was in like 
manner made a knight-banneret by Charles I. The title does not 
seem to have been in existence before the reign of Edward I., and 
after this bestowal by Charles I. we hear no more of it till 1743, 
when the title was conferred upon several English officers by the 
king, George II., upon the field of Dettingen. It was an essential 
condition that the rank should be bestowed by the Sovereign on 
the actual field of battle and beneath the royal banner. General 
Sir William Erskine was given this rank by George III. on his 
return from the Continent in 1764, after the battle of Emsdorff ; 
but as the investiture took place beneath the standard of the isth 
Light Dragoons and in Hyde Park, it was deemed hopelessly 
irregular, and, the royal will and action notwithstanding, his rank 
was not generally recognised. 

The ceremony of investiture was in the earlier days a very 
simple one. The flag of the ordinary knight was of the form known 
as the pennon a small, swallow-tailed flag like that borne by our 
lancer regiments, of which Fig. 30 is an illustration. On being 
summoned to the royal presence, the king took from him his lance, 
and either cut or tore away the points of his flag, until he had 
reduced it roughly to banner form, and then returned it to him 
with such words of commendation as the occasion called for. 
What the ceremony employed at so late a period as Dettingen was 
we have not been able to trace. As the officers there honoured 
were lanceless and pennonless, it is evident that the formula which 
served in the Middle Ages was quite inapplicable, but it is equally 
evident that in the thronging duties and responsibilities of the field 
of battle the ceremony must always have been a very short and 
simple one. 

The term Standard is appropriately applied to any flag of noble 
size that answers in the main to the following conditions that it 
should always have the Cross of St. George placed next to the 
staff that the rest of the flag should be divided horizontally into 
two or more stripes of colours, these being the prevailing colours 
in the arms of the bearers or their livery colours, the edge of the 
standard richly fringed or bordered, the motto and badges of 
the owner introduced, the length considerably in excess of the 
breadth, the ends split and rounded off. We find such standards 
in use chiefly during the fifteenth century, though some charac- 
teristic examples of both earlier and later dates may be encoun- 
tered. Figs. 14 and 15 are very good typical illustrations. The 


first of these (Fig. 14) is the Percy standard. The blue lion, the 
crescent, and the fetterlock there seen are all badges of the family, 
while the silver key betokens matrimonial alliance with the 
Poynings,* the bugle-horn with the Bryans,f and the falchion with 
the family of Fitzpayne. The ancient badge ot the Percys was 
the white lion statant. Our readers will doubtless be familiar 
with the lines 

"Who, in field or foray slack, 
Saw the blanch lion e'er give back?" 

but Henry Percy, the fifth earl, 1489 to 1577, turned it into a blue 
one. The silver crescent is the only badge of the family that has 
remained in active and continuous use, and we find frequent refer- 
ences to it in the old ballads so full of interesting heraldic 
allusions as, for instance, in " The Rising of the N orth " 

"Erie Percy there his ancyent spred, 
The halfe-moon shining all soe faire," 

and in Claxton's " Lament " 

" Now the Percy's crescent is set in blood." 

The motto is ordinarily a very important part of the standard, 
though it is occasionally missing. Its less or greater length or its 
possible repetition may cut up the surface of the flag into a varying 
number of spaces. The first space after the cross is always occu- 
pied by the most important badge, and in a few cases the spaces 
beyond are empty. 

The motto of the Percys is of great historic interest. It is 
referred to by Shakespeare, " Now Esperance ! Percy ! and set on," 
and we find in Drayton the line, " As still the people cried, A Percy, 
Esperance!" In the " Mirror for Magistrates" (1574) we read, 
" Add therefore this to Esperance, my word, who causeth blood- 
shed shall not 'scape the sword." It was originally the war-cry of 
the Percys, but it has undergone several modifications, and these 
of a rather curious and interesting nature, since we see in the 
sequence a steady advance from blatant egotism to an admission of a 
higher power even than that of Percy. The war-cry of the first Earl 
was originally, " Percy ! Percy 1" but he later substituted for it, 
" Esperance, Percy." The second and third Earls took merely 
' Esperance, " the fourth took " Esperance, ma comfort," and, 

* This crowned key may be seen as early as 1359 on the seal of Sir Michael de 

t The bugle horn appears as the crest of Sir William de Bryan on his brass, 1375. 


later on, " Esperance en Dieu ma comfort," and the fifth and 
succeeding Earls took the " Esperance en Dieu." * 

Fig. 15 is the standard of Sir Thomas de Swynnerton. The 
swine is an example of the punning allusion to the bearer's name 
that is so often seen in the charges of mediaeval heraldry. 

Figs. 14 and 15 are typical standards, having the cross of St. 
George, the striping of colours, the oblique lines of motto, the 
elongated tapering form, and all the other features that we have 
already quoted as belonging to the ideal standard, though one or 
two of these may at times be absent. Thus, though exceptions are 
rare, a standard is not necessarily particoloured for example, and, 
as we have seen, the motto in other examples may be missing. 
The Harleian MS. No. 2,358 lays down the rule that " every 
Standard or guydhome is to hang in the Chiefe the Crosse of St. 
George, to be slitte at the ende, and 'to conteyne the crest or sup- 
porter, with the poesy, worde, and devise of the owner." That the 
Cross of St. George, the national badge, must always be present 
and in the most honourable position is full of significance, as it 
means that whatever else of rank or family the bearer might be, he 
was first and foremost an Englishman. 

Figs. 13 and 16 are interesting modern examples of the Stan- 
dard. They are from a series of sledge-flags used during the 
Arctic Expedition of 1875-6, the devices upon them being those of 
the officers in charge of each detachment. 

When in earlier days a man raised a regiment for national 
defence, he not only commanded it, but its flag often bore his arms 
or device. Thus the standard of the dragoons raised by Henry, 
Lord Cardross, in 1689 was of red silk, on which was represented 
the Colonel's crest, a hand holding a dagger, and the motto " Forti- 
tudine," while in the upper corner next the staff was the thistle of 
Scotland, surmounted by the crown. 

Our readers should now have no difficulty in sketching out for 
themselves as an exercise the following : The standard of Henry V., 
white and blue, a white antelope standing between four red roses ; 
the motto " Dieu et mon droit," and in the interspaces more red 

tn *n old pedigree of the family is inscribed the lines : 
" Esperance en Dieu, 
Trust in hym, he is most true. 
En Dieu Esperance, 
In hym put thyne affiaunce. 
Esperance in the worlde ? Nay, 
The worlde variethe every day. 
Esperance in riches? Nay, not so; 
Riches slidethe, and some will go. 
Esperance in ezaltacion of honour f 
Nay, it widderethe away, lyke a flowtft, 
Esperance en Dieu, in hym is all, 
Which Is above Fortune's fall. 1 


roses. The standard of Richard II., white and green, a white 
hart couchant between four golden suns, the motto " Dieu et mon 
droit," in the next space two golden suns, and in the next, four. 
As further exercises, we may give the standard of Sir John 
Awdeley, of gold and scarlet, having a Moor's head and three white 
butterflies, the motto " Je le tiens," then two butterflies, then four ; 
and the standard of Frogmorton, of four stripes of red and white, 
having an elephant's head in black, surrounded by golden cres- 
cents. While no one, either monarch or noble, could have more 
than one banner, since this was composed of his heraldic arms, 
a thing fixed and unchangeable, the same individual might have 
two or three standards, since these were mainly made up of 
badges that he could multiply at discretion, and a motto or poesy 
that he might change every day if he chose. Hence, for instance, 
the standards of Henry VII. were mostly green and white, since 
these were the Tudor livery colours ; but in one was " a red firye 
dragon," and in another " was peinted a donne kowe," while yet 
another had a silver greyhound between red roses. Stowe and 
other authorities tell us that the two first of these were borne at 
Bosworth Field, and that after his victory there over Richard III. 
these were borne by him in solemn state to St. Paul's Cathedral, 
and there deposited on his triumphal entry into the metropolis. 

The difference between the standard and the banner is very 
clearly seen in the description of the flags borne at the funeral 
obsequies of Queen Elizabeth " the great embroidered banner of 
England " (Fig. 22), the banners of Wales, Ireland, Chester, and 
Cornwall, and the standards of the dragon, greyhound, and falcon. 
In like manner Stowe tells us that when King Henry VII. took the 
field in 1513, he had with him the standard with the red dragon and 
the banner of the arms of England, and Machyn tells that at the 
funeral of Edward VI., " furst of all whent a grett company of 
chylderyn in ther surples and clarkes syngyng and then ij harolds, 
and then a standard with a dragon, and then a grett nombur of ye 
servants in blake, and then anoder standard with a whyt grey- 
hound." Later on in the procession came " ye grett baner of 
armes in brodery and with dyvers odere baners." 

Standards varied in size according to the rank of the person 
entitled to them. A MS. of the time of Henry VII. gives the 
following dimensions: For that of the king, a length of eight 
yards ; for a duke, seven ; for an earl, six ; a marquis, six and a 
half ; a viscount, five and a half ; a baron, five ; a knight banneret, 
four and a half ; and for a knight, four yards. In view of these 
figures one can easily realise the derivation of the word standard 
a thing that is meant to stand ; to be rather fastened in the ground as 
a rallying point than carried, like a banner, about the field of action. 

l Tfcfc FLAGS of THfe WORLD. 

At the funeral of Nelson we find his banner of arms and 
standard borne in the procession, while around his coffin are the 
bannerolls, square banner-like flags bearing the various arms of his 
family lineage. We see these latter again in an old print of the 
funeral procession of General Monk, in 1670, and in a still older 
print of the burial of Sir Philip Sydney, four of his near kindred 
carrying by the coffin these indications of his descent. At the 
funeral of Queen Elizabeth we find six bannerolls of alliances on 
the paternal side and six on the maternal. The standard of Nelson 
bears his motto, " Palmam qui m&ruit ferat" but instead of the Cross 
of St. George it has the union of the crosses of St. George, St. 
Andrew, and St. Patrick, since in 1806, the year of his funeral, the 
England of mediaeval days had expanded into the Kingdom of 
Great Britain and Ireland. In the imposing funeral procession of 
the great Duke of Wellington we find again amongst the flags not 
only the national flag, regimental colours, and other insignia, but 
the ten bannerolls of the Duke's pedigree and descent, and his 
personal banner and standard. 

Richard, Earl of Salisbury, in the year 1458, ordered that at 
his interment " there be banners, standards, and other accoutre- 
ments, according as was usual for a person of his degree " and 
what was then held fitting, remains, in the case of State funerals, 
equally so at the present day. 

The Pennon is a small, narrow flag, forked or swallow-tailed at 
its extremity. This was carried on the lance. Our readers will 
recall the knight in " Marmion," who 

"On high his forky pennon bore, 
Like swallow's tail in shape and hue." 

We read in the Roll of Karlaverok, as early as the year 1300, of 

"Many a beautiful pennon fixed to a lance, 
And many a banner displayed ; " 

and of the knight in Chaucer's " Canterbury Tales," we hear that 

"By hys bannere borne is hys pennon 
Of golde full riche." 

The pennon bore the arms of the knight, and they were in the 
earlier days of chivalry so emblazoned upon it as to appear in their 
proper position not when the lance was held erect but when held 
horizontally for the charge. The earliest brass now extant, that of 
Sir John Daubernoun, at Stoke d'Abernon Church, in Surrey, 
represents the knight as bearing a lance with pennon. Its date is 
1277, and the device is a golden chevron on a field of azure. In 


this example the pennon, instead of being forked, comes to a single 

The pennon was the ensign of those knights who were not 
bannerets, and the bearers of it were therefore sometimes called 
pennonciers ; the term is derived from the Latin word for a feather, 
penna, from the narrow, elongated form. The pennons of our 
lancer regiments (Fig. 30) give one a good idea of the form, size, 
and general effect of the ancient knightly pennon, though they do 
not bear distinctive charges upon them, and thus fail in one notable 
essential to recall to our minds the brilliant blazonry and variety of 
device that must have been so marked and effective a feature when 
the knights of old took the field. In a drawing of the year 1813, of 
the Royal Horse Artillery, we find the men armed with lances, and 
these with pennons of blue and white, as we see in Fig. 31.* 

Of the thirty-seven pennons borne on lances by various knights 
represented in the Bayeux tapestry, twenty-eight have triple points, 
while others have two, four, or five. The devices upon these 
pennons are very various and distinctive, though the date is before 
the period of the definite establishment of heraldry. Examples 
of these may be seen in Figs. 39, 40, 41, 42. 

The pennoncelle, or pencel, is a diminutive of the pennon, 
small as that itself is. Such flags were often supplied in large 
quantities at any special time of rejoicing or of mourning. At the 
burial in the year 1554 of " the nobull Duke of Norffok," we note 
amongst other items " a dosen of banerolles of ys progene," a 
standard, a " baner of damaske, and xij dosen penselles." At the 
burial of Sir William Goring we find " ther was viij dosen of 
penselles," while at the Lord Mayor's procession in 1555 we read 
that there were " ij goodly pennes [State barges] deckt with flages 
and stremers and a m penselles." This " m," or thousand, we can 
perhaps scarcely take literally, though in another instance we find 
" the cordes were hanged with innumerable pencelles."f 

The statement of the cost of the funeral of Oliver Cromwell is 
interesting, as we see therein the divers kinds of flags that graced 
the ceremony. The total cost of the affair was ovar 28,000, and 
the unhappy undertaker, a Mr. Rolt, was paid very little, if any, 
of his bill. The items include " six gret banners wrought on rich 
taffaty in oil, and gilt with fine gold," at 6 each. Five large 
standards, similarly wrought, at a cost of 10 each ; six dozen 

* The modern flag, known as the burgee, largely used in flag signalling, is like a 
shortened pennon. It is sometimes also called a cornet. 

t " Now the often changing fortune beganne also to channge the law of the battels. For 
at the first, though it were terrible, yet Terror was deckt and broachie with rich furniture, 
guilt swords, shining armours, pleasant pensils, that the eye with delight had scarce time 
to be afraiHf ; but now all defiled with dust, blood, broken armour, mangled bodies, tooke 
away the maske, and set forth Horror In his own horrible manner." SIR PHiLir SYDNEY. 


pennons, a yard long, at a sovereign each ; forty trumpet banners, 
at forty shillings apiece ; thirty dozen of pennoncelles, a foot long, 
at twenty shillings a dozen ; and twenty dozen ditto at twelve 
shillings the dozen. Poor Rolt ! 

In "the accompte and reckonyng" for the Lord Mayor's Show 
of 1617 we find " payde to Jacob Challoner, painter, for a greate 
square banner, the Prince's Armes, the somme of seven pounds." 
We also find, " More to him for the new payntyng and guyldyng 
of ten trumpet banners, for payntyng and guyldyng of two long 
pennons of the Lord Major's armes on callicoe," and many other 
items that we need not set down, the total cost of the flag depart- 
ment being 67 155. iod. t while for the Lord Mayor's Show 
of the year 1685 we find that the charge for this item was the 
handsome sum of 140. 

The Pennant, or pendant, is a long narrow flag with pointed 
end, and derives its name from the Latin word signifying to hang. 
Examples of it may be seen in Figs. 20, 21, 23, 24, 36, 38, 100, 101, 
102, and 103, and some of the flags employed in ship -signalling are 
also of pennant form. It was in Tudor times called the streamer. 
Though such a flag may at times be found pressed into the service 
of city pageantry, it is more especially adapted for use at sea, 
since the lofty mast, the open space far removed from telegraph- 
wires, chimney-pots, and such-like hindrances to its free course, 
and the crisp sea-breeze to boldly extend it to its full length, are 
all essential to its due display. When we once begin to extend in 
length, it is evident that almost anything is possible : the pendant 
of a modern man-of-war is some twenty yards long, while its 
breadth is barely six inches, and it is evident that such a flag as 
that would scarcely get a fair chance in the general " survival of 
the fittest" in Cheapside. It is charged at the head with the 
Cross of St. George. Figs. 26, 27, 74 are Tudor examples of such 
pendants, while Fig. 140 is a portion at least of the pendant flown 
by colonial vessels on war service, while under the same necessarily 
abbreviated conditions may be seen in Fig. 151 the pendant of 
the United States Navy, in 157 that of Chili, and in 173 that 
of Brazil. 

In mediaeval days many devices were introduced, the streamer 
being made of sufficient width to allow of their display. Thus 
Dugdale gives an account of the fitting up of the ship in which 
Beauchamp, fifth Earl of Warwick, during the reign of Henry VI., 
went over to France. The original bill between this nobleman 
and William Seburgh, " citizen and payntour of London," is still 
extant, and we see from it that amongst other things provided 
was "the grete stremour for the shippe xl yardes in length and 
viij yardes in brede." These noble dimensions gave ample room for 


display of the badge of the Warwicks,* so we find it at the head 
adorned with " a grete here holding a ragged staffe," and the rest 
of its length " powdrid full of raggid staves," 

" A stately ship, 

With all her bravery on, and tackle trim, 
Sails filled, and streamers waving." 

Machyn tells us in his diary for August 3rd, 1553, how "The Queen 
came riding to London, and so on to the Tower, makyng her entry 
at Aldgate, and a grett nombur of stremars hanging about the sayd 
gate, and all the strett unto Leydenhalle and unto the Tower were 
layd with graffel, and all the crafts of London stood with their 
banars and stremars hangyd over their beds." In the picture by 
Volpe in the collection at Hampton Court of the Embarkation of 
Henry VIII. from Dover in the year 1520, to meet Francis I. at 
the Field of the Cloth of Gold, we find, very naturally, a great 
variety and display of flags of all kinds. Figs. 20, 21, 23 are 
streamers therein depicted, the portcullis, Tudor rose, and fleur- 
de-lys being devices of the English king, while the particular ground 
upon which they are displayed is in each case made up of green 
and white, the Tudor livery colours. We may see these again in 
Fig. 71, where the national flag of the Cross of St. George has its 
white field barred with the Tudor green. In the year 1554 even 
the naval uniform of England was white and green, both for officers 
and mariners, and the City trained bands had white coats welted 
with green. Queen Elizabeth, though of the Tudor race, took 
scarlet and black as her livery colours ; the House of Plantaganet 
white and red ; of York, murrey and blue ; of Lancaster, white and 
blue ; of Stuart, red and yellow. The great nobles each also had their 
special liveries ; thus in a grand review of troops on Blackheath, 
on May i6th, 1552, we find that " the Yerle of Pembroke and ys 
men of armes" had "cotes blake bordered with whyt," while the 
retainers of the Lord Chamberlain were in red and white, those of 
the Earl of Huntingdon in blue, and so forth. 

In the description of one of the City pageants in honour of 
Henry VII. we find among the " baggs " (i.e., badges), " a rede 
rose and a wyght in his mydell, golde floures de luces, and port- 
cullis also in golde," the " wallys " of the Pavilion whereon these 
were displayed being " chekkyrs of whyte and grene." 

The only other flag form to which we need make any very 
definite reference is the Guidon. The word is derived from the 

* " A streamer shall stand in the toppe of a shippe, or In the forecastle, and therein be 
putt no annes, but a man's conceit or device, and may be of the lengths of twenty, forty, or 
sixty yards." Harleian MS., No. 2,358, dealing witb " the Syze of Banners, Standardes, 
Pennons, Guydhomes, Pencels, and Streamers," 


French guide -homme, but in the lax spelling of mediaeval days it 
undergoes many perversions, such as guydhome, guydon, gytton, 
geton, and such-like more or less barbarous renderings. Guidon 
is the regulation name now applied to the small standards borne 
by the squadrons of some of our cavalry regiments. The Queen's 
guidon is borne by the first squadron ; this is always of crimson 
silk ; tho others are the colour of the regimental facings. The 
modern cavalry guidon :s square in form, and richly embroidered, 
fringed, and tasselled. A mediaeval writer on the subject lays 
down the la.v r hat a guydhome must be two and a half yardes 
or three yardes loage, and therein shall be no armes putt, but 
only the man's crest, cognizance, and device, and from that, 
from his standard or streamer a man may flee ; but not from 
his banner or pennon bearinge his armes." The guidon is largely 
employed at State or ceremonious funeral processions ; we see it 
borne, for instance, in the illustrations of the funeral of Monk in 
1670, of Nelson in 1806, of Wellington in 1852. In all these cases 
it is rounded hi form, as in Fig. 28. Like the standard, the guidon 
bears motto and device, but it is smaller, and has not the elongated 
form, nor does it bear the Cross of St. George. 

In divers countries and periods very diverse forms may be 
encountered, and to these various names have been assigned, but 
it is needless to pursue their investigation at any length, as in some 
cases the forms are quite obsolete ; in other cases, while its form is 
known to us its name is lost, while in yet other instances we have 
various old names of flags mentioned by the chroniclers and poets 
to which we are unable now to assign any very definite notion of their 
form. In some cases, again, the form we encounter may be of some 
eccentric individuality that no man ever saw before, or ever wants 
to see again, or, as in Fig. 33, so slightly divergent from ordinary 
type as to scarcely need a distinctive name. One of the flags 
represented in the Bayeux tapestry is semi-circular. Fig. 32 defies 
classification, unless we regard it as a pennon that, by snipping, 
has travelled three-quarters of the way towards being a banner. 
Fig. 35, sketched from a MS. of the early part of the fourteenth 
century, in the British Museum, is of somewhat curious and 
abnormal form. It is of religious type, and bears the Agnus Dei. 
The original is in a letter of Philippe de Mezieres, pleading 
for peace and friendship between Charles VI. of France and 
Richard II. of England. 

Flags are nowadays ordinarily made of bunting, a woollen 
fabric which, from the nature of its texture and its great toughness 
and durability, is particularly fitted to stand wear and tear. It 
comes from the Yorkshire mills in pieces of forty yards in length, 
while the width varies from four to thirty-six inches. Flags are 


only printed when of small size, and when a sufficient number will 
be required to justify the expense of cutting the blocks. Silk is 
also used, but only for special purposes. 

Flag-devising is really a branch of heraldry, and should be in ac- 
cordance with its laws, both in the forms and the colours introduced. 
Yellow in blazonry is the equivalent of gold, and white of silver, 
and it is one of the requirements of heraldry that colour should not 
be placed upon colour, nor metal on metal. Hence the red and blue 
in the French tricolour (Fig. 191) are separated by white ; the black 
and red of Belgium (Fig. 236) by yellow. Such unfortunate com- 
binations as the yellow, blue, red, of Venezuela (Fig. 170) ; the 
yellow, red, green of Bolivia (Fig. 171) ; the red and blue of Hayti 
(Fig. 178) ; the white and yellow of Guatemala (Fig. 162), are viola- 
tionsof the rule in countries far removed from the influence of heraldic 
law. This latter instance is a peculiarly interesting one ; it is the 
flag of Guatemala in 1851, while in 1858 this was changed to that 
represented in Fig. 163. In the first case the red and the blue are in 
contact, and the white and the yellow ; while in the second the 
same colours are introduced, but with due regard to heraldic law, 
and certainly with far more pleasing effect. 

One sees the same obedience to this rule in the special flags 
used for signalling, where great clearness of definition at consider- 
able distances is an essential. Such combinations as blue and 
black, red and blue, yellow and white, carry their own condem- 
nation with them, as anyone may test by actual experiment ; 
stripes of red and blue, for instance, at a little distance blending 
into purple, while white and yellow are too much alike in strength, 
and when the yellow has become a little faded and the white a little 
dingy they appear almost identical. We have this latter combina- 
tion in Fig. 198, the flag of the now vanished Papal States. It is 
a very uncommon juxtaposition, and only occurs in this case from 
a special religious symbolism into which we need not here enter. 
The alternate red and green stripes in Fig. 63 are another viola- 
tion of the rule, and have a very confusing effect.* 

The colours of by far the greatest frequency of occurrence are 
red, white, and blue ; yellow also is not uncommon ; orange is only 
found once, in Fig. 249, where it has a special significance, since 
this is the flag of the Orange Free State. Green occurs sparingly. 
Italy (Fig. 197) is perhaps the best known example. We also find 
it in the Brazilian flag (Fig. 169), the Mexican (Fig. 172), in the 
Hungarian tricolor (Fig. 214), and in Figs. 199, 201, 209, the flags 

While thus severe to our judgment on misguided foreigners It is only just to point out 
that England itself is responsible for a combination as horrible as any in the green, red, 
white, of the special flag that she bestowed on Heligoland, while it was yet a British 
poisession. It may be seen in Fig. ;. 


of smaller German States, but it is more especially associated with 
Mohammedan States, as in Figs. 58, 63, 64, 235. Black is found but 
seldom, but as heraldic requirements necessitate that it should be 
combined either with white or yellow, it is, when seen, exceptionally 
brilliant and effective. We see it, for example, in the Royal 
Standard of Spain, (Fig. 194), in Figs. 207 and 208, flags of the 
German Empire, in Fig. 226, the Imperial Standard of Russia, 
and in Fig. 236, the brilliant tricolor of the Belgians.* 

In orthodox flags anything of the nature of an inscription is 
very seldom seen. We find a reference to order and progress on 
the Brazilian flag (Fig. 169), while the Turkish Imperial Standard 
(Fig. 238) bears on its scarlet folds the monogram of the Sultan ; 
but these exceptions are rare.f We have seen that, on the con- 
trary, on the flags of insurgents and malcontents the inscription 
often counts for much. On the alteration of the style in the year 
1752 this necessary change was made the subject of much ignorant 
reproach of the government of the day, and was used as a weapon 
of party warfare. An amusing instance of this feeling occurs in 
the first plate of Hogarth's election series, where a malcontent, or 
perhaps only a man anxious to earn a shilling, carries a big flag 
inscribed, " Give us back our eleven days." The flags of the 
Covenanters often bore mottoes or texts. Fig. 34 is a curious 
example : the flag hoisted by the crew of H.M.S. Niger when they 
opposed the mutineers in 1797 at Sheerness. It is preserved in the 
Royal United Service Museum. It is, as we have seen, ordinarily 
the insubordinate and rebellious who break out into inscriptions 
of more or less piety or pungency, but we may conclude that the 
loyal sailors fighting under the royal flag adopted this device in 
addition as one means the more of fighting the rebels with their 
own weapons. 

During the Civil War between the Royalists and Parliamen- 
tarians, we find a great use made of flags inscribed with mottoes. 
Thus, on one we see five hands stretching at a crown defended by an 
armed hand issuing from a cloud, and the motto, " Reddite Cassari." 
In another we see an angel with a flaming sword treading a dragon 
underfoot, and the motto, " Quis ut Deus," while yet another is 
inscribed, " Courage pour la Cause." On a fourth we find an ermine, 
and the motto, " Malo moriquam foedari " " It is better to die than 

* The famous banner of the Knights Templars, called the Beau-seant, had Its upper 
half black and lower white. The black symbolised the terror it should be to the foe, 
and the white amity and goodwill to friends. 

t The "house-flags" of the various shipping companies make a great use of letters: 
thus the flag of the Orient Steam Navigation Company is white and divided into four 
portions by a blue cross. In these four portions are placed in red the letters O. S. N. C. 
In Fig. 120 we have the flag of the New Zealand Shipping Company, where the N.Z.S. 
Co. are equally conspicuous. Any reference to a good list of house-flags, such as that 
published by Griffin, would reveal scores of illustration* of this feature,. 


to be sullied," In allusion to the old belief that the ermine would die 
rather than soil its fur. Hence it is the emblem of purity and 
stainless honour. 

The blood-red flag is the symbol of mutiny and of revolution. 
As a sign of disaffection it was twice, at the end of last century, 
displayed in the Royal Navy. A mutiny broke out at Portsmouth 
in April, 1797, for an advance of pay ; an Act of Parliament was 
passed to sanction the increase of expenditure, and all who were 
concerned in it received the royal pardon, but in June of the same 
year, at Sheerness, the spirit of disaffection broke out afresh, and 
on its suppression the ringleaders were executed. It is character- 
istic that, aggrieved as these seamen were against the authorities, 
when the King's birthday came round, on June 4th, though the 
mutiny was then at its height, the red flags were lowered, the 
vessels gaily dressed in the regulation bunting, and a royal 
salute was fired. Having thus demonstrated their real loyalty to 
their sovereign, the red flags were re-hoisted, and the dispute with 
the Admiralty resumed in all its bitterness. 

The white flag is the symbol of amity and of good will ; of 
truce amidst strife, and of surrender when the cause is lost. The 
yellow flag betokens infectious illness, and is displayed when there 
is cholera, yellow fever, or such like dangerous malady on board 
ship, and it is also hoisted on quarantine stations. The black flag 
signifies mourning and death ; one of its best known uses in 
these later days is to serve as an indication after an execution that 
the requirements of the law have been duly carried out. 

Honour and respect are expressed by " dipping " the flag. At 
any parade of troops before the sovereign the regimental flags are 
lowered as they pass the saluting point, and at sea the colours are 
dipped by hauling them smartly down from the mast-head and 
then promptly replacing them. They must not be suffered to 
remain at all stationary when lowered, as a flag flying half-mast 
high is a sign of mourning for death, for defeat, or for some other 
national loss, and it is scarcely a mark of honour or respect to 
imply that the arrival of the distinguished person is a cause of 
grief or matter for regret. 

In time of peace it is an insult to hoist the flag of one friendly 
nation above another, so that each flag must be flown from its own 

Even as early as the reign of Alfred England claimed the 
sovereignty of the seas. Edward III. is more identified with our 
early naval glories than any other English king ; he was styled 
" King of the Seas," a name of which he appears to have been 
very proud, and in his coinage of gold nobles he represented 
himself with shield, and sword, and standing; in a ship " full royally 


apparelled." He fought on the seas under many disadvantages of 
numbers and ships : in one instance until his ship sank under him, 
and at all times as a gallant Englishman. 

If any commander of an English vessel met the ship of a 
foreigner, and the latter refused to salute the English flag, it was 
enacted that such ship, if taken, was the lawful prize of the 
captain. A very notable example of this punctilious insistance on 
the respect to the flag arose in May, 1554, when a Spanish fleet of 
one hundred and sixty sail, escorting the King on his way to 
England to his marriage with Queen Mary, fell in with the English 
fleet under the command of Lord Howard, Lord High Admiral. 
Philip would have passed the English fleet without paying the 
customary honours, but the signal was at once made by Howard 
for his twenty-eight ships to prepare for action, and a round shot 
crashed into the side of the vessel of the Spanish Admiral. The 
hint was promptly taken, and the whole Spanish fleet struck their 
colours as homage to the English flag. 

In the year 1635 the combined fleets of France and Holland 
determined to dispute this claim of Great Britain, but on announc- 
ing their intention of doing so an English fleet was at once 
dispatched, whereupon they returned to their ports and decided that 
discretion was preferable even to valour. In 1654, on the con- 
elusion of peace between England and Holland, the Dutch 
consented to acknowledge the English supremacy of the seas, the 
article in the treaty declaring that "the ships of the Dutch as 
well ships of war as others meeting any of the ships of war of the 
English, in the British seas, shall strike their flags and lower their 
topsails in such manner as hath ever been at any time heretofore 
practised." After another period of conflict it was again formally 
yielded by the Dutch in 1673. 

Political changes are responsible for many variations in flags, 
and the wear and tear of Time soon renders many of the devices 
obsolete. On turning, for instance, to Nories' " Maritime Flags of 
all Nations," a little book published in 1848, many of the flags are at 
once seen to be now out of date. The particular year was one of 
exceptional political agitation, and the author evidently felt that 
his work was almost old-fashioned even on its issue. "The 
accompanying illustrations," he says, " having been completed prior 
to the recent revolutionary movements on the Continent of Europe, 
it has been deemed expedient to issue the plate in its present state, 
rather than adopt the various tri-coloured flags, which cannot be 
regarded as permanently established in the present unsettled state 
of political affairs. 1 ' The Russian American Company's flag, 
Fig. 59, that of the States of the Church, of the Kingdom of 
Sardinia, the Turkish Imperial StanJvdi Fig. 64. and many other? 


that he gives, are all now superseded. For Venice he gives two 
flags, that for war and that for the merchant service. In each case 
the flag is scarlet, having a broad band of blue, which we may take 
to typify the sea, near its lower edge. From this rises in gold the 
winged lion of St. Mark, having in the war ensign a sword in his 
right paw, and in the peaceful colours of commerce a cross. Of 
thirty-five " flags of all nations," given as a supplement to the 
Illustrated London News in 1858, we note that eleven are now 
obsolete : the East India Company, for instance, being now extinct, 
the Ionian Islands ceded to Greece, Tuscany and Naples absorbed 
into Italy, and so forth. 

In Figs. 52 and 53 we have examples of early Spanish flags, and 
in 54 and 55 of Portuguese, each and all being taken from a very 
quaint map of the year 1502. This map may be said to be 
practically the countries lying round the Atlantic Ocean, giving a 
good slice of Africa, a portion of the Mediterranean basin, the 
British Isles, most of South America, a little of North America, the 
West Indies,* etc., the object of the map being to show the division 
that Pope Alexander VI. kindly made between those faithful 
daughters of the Church Spain and Portugal of all the un- 
claimed portions of the world. Figs. 52 and 53 are types of flags 
flying on various Spanish possessions, while Figs. 54 and 55 are 
placed at different points on the map where Portugal held sway. 
On one place in Africa we see that No. 54 is surmounted by a white 
flag bearing the Cross of St. George, so we may conclude that 
Pope Alexander notwithstanding England captured it from the 
Portuguese. At one African town we see the black men dancing 
round the Portuguese flag, while a little way off three of their 
brethren are hanging on a gallows, showing that civilization had set 
in with considerable severity there. The next illustration on this 
plate (Fig. 56) is taken from a sheet of flags published in 1735 ; it 
represents the " Guiny Company's Ensign," a trading company, 
like the East India, Fig. 57, now no longer in existence. Fig. 62 
is the flag of Savoy, an ancient sovereignty that, within the memory 
of many of our readers, has expanded into the kingdom of Italy. 
The break up of the Napoleonic regime in France, the crushing out 
of the Confederate States in North America, the dismissal from the 
throne of the Emperor of Brazil, have all, within comparatively 
recent years, led to the superannuation and disestablishment of a 
goodly number of flags and their final disappearance. 

We propose now to deal with the flags of the various nation- 
alities, commencing, naturally, with those of our own country. 

* The map is freely embellished with illustrations. In South America, for instance 
four immense crimson parrots about fill up Brazil, while in Africa the parrots are green, 
Many of these figured details are very quaint. 


We were told by a government official that the Universal Code of 
signals issued by England had led to a good deal of heartburning, 
as it is prefaced by a plate of the various national flags, the Union 
Flag of Great Britain and Ireland being placed first. But until 
some means can be devised by which each nationality can head the 
list, some sort of precedence seems inevitable. At first sight it 
seems as though susceptibilities might be saved by adopting an 
alphabetical arrangement, but this is soon found to be a mistake, 
as it places such powerful States as Russia and the United States 
nearly at the bottom of the list. A writer, Von Rosenfeld, who 
published a book on flags in Vienna in 1853, very naturally 
adopted this arrangement, but the calls of patriotism would not 
even then allow him to be quite consistent, since he places his 
material as follows : Austria, Annam, Argentine, Belgium, Bolivia, 
and so forth, where it is evident Annam should lead the world and 
Austria be content to come in third. Apart from the difficulty of 
asking Spain, for instance, to admit that Bulgaria was so much 
in front of her, or to expect Japan to allow China so great a 
precedence as the alphabetical arrangement favours, a second 
obstacle is found in the fact that the names of these various 
States as we Englishmen know them are not in many cases those 
by which they know themselves or are known by others. Thus 
a Frenchman would be quite content with the alphabetical 
arrangement that in English places his beloved country before 
Germany, but the Teuton would at once claim precedence, de- 
claring that Deutschland must come before "la belle France," 
and the Espagnol would not see why he should be banished to 
the back row just because we choose to call him a Spaniard. 

In the meantime, pending the Millenium, the flag that more 
than three hundred millions of people, the wide world over, look 
up to as the symbol of justice and liberty, will serve very well 
as a starting point, and then the great Daughter across the 
Western Ocean, that sprung from the Old Home, shall claim a 
worthy place next in our regard. The Continent of Europe must 
clearly come next, and such American nationalities as lie outside 
the United States, together with Asia and Africa, will bring up 
the rear. 


The Royal Standard the Three Lions of England the Lion Rampant of 
Scotland Scottish sensitiveness as to precedence the Scottish Tressure the 
Harp of Ireland Early Irish Flags Brian Boru the Royal Standards from 
Richard I. to Victoria Claim to the Fleurs-de-Lys of France Quartering Hanover 
the Union Flag St. George for England War Cry Observance of St. 
George's Day the Cross of St. George Early Naval Flags the London 
Trained Bands the Cross of St. Andrew the "Blue Blanket "Flags of the 
Covenanters Relics of St. Andrew Union of England and Scotland the First 
Union Flag Importance of accuracy in representations of it the Union Jack 
Flags of the Commonwealth and Protectorate Union of Great Britain and 
Ireland the Cross of St. Patrick Labours of St. Patrick in Ireland Proclama- 
tion of George III. as to Flags, etc. the Second Union Flag Heraldic Difficulties 
in its Construction Suggestions by Critics Regulations as to Fortress Flags 
the White Ensign of the Royal Navy Saluting the Flag the Navy the Safe- 
guard of Britain the Blue Ensign the Royal Naval Reserve the Red Ensign 
of the Mercantile Marine Value of Flag-lore. 

J7OREMOST amongst the flags of the British Empire the Royal 
1 Standard takes its position as the symbol of the tie that unites all 
into one great State. Its glowing blazonry of blue and scarlet and 
gold is brought before us in Fig. 44. The three golden lions on the 
scarlet ground are the device of England, the golden harp on the 
azure field is the device of Ireland, while the ruddy lion rampant on 
the field of gold * stands for Scotland. It may perhaps appear to 
some of our readers that the standard of the Empire should not be 
confined to such narrow limits ; that the great Dominion of Canada, 
India, Australia, the ever-growing South Africa, might justly claim 
a place. Precedent, too, might be urged, since in previous reigns, 
Nassau, Hanover, and other States have found a resting-place in its 
folds, and there is much to be said in favour of a wider representa- 
tion of the greater component parts of our world-wide Empire ; but 
two great practical difficulties arise : the first is that the grand sim- 
plicity of the flag would be lost if eight or ten different devices were 
substituted for the three ; and secondly, it would very possibly give 
rise to a good deal of jealousy and ill-feeling, since it would be im- 
possible to introduce all. As it at present stands, it represents 
the central home of the Empire, the little historic seed-plot from 
whence all else has sprung, and to which all turn their eyes as the 

* "The dazzling field, 
Where in proud Scotland's royal shield, 
The ruddy lion ramped In gold." Scott. 

30 Tttfc FLAGS OF THfe WOfeLD. 

centre of the national life. All equally agree to venerate the dear 
mother land, but it is perhaps a little too much to expect that the 
people of Jamaica or Hong Kong would feel the same veneration for 
the beaver and maple-leaves of Canada, the golden Sun of India, 
or the Southern Cross of Australasia. As it must clearly be all or 
none, it seems that only one solution of the problem, the present 
one, is possible. In the same way the Union flag (Fig. 90) is liter- 
ally but the symbol of England, Scotland, and Ireland, but far and 
away outside its primary significance, it floats on every sea the 
emblem of that Greater Britain in which all its sons have equal 
pride, and where all share equal honour as brethren of one family. 

The earliest Royal Standard bore but the three lions of England, 
and we shall see presently that in different reigns various modifica- 
tions of its blazonry arose, either the result of conquest or of dynastic 
possessions. Thus Figs. 43 and 44, though they bear a superficial 
likeness, tell a very different story; the first of these, that of 
George HE., laying claim in its fourth quartering to lordship over 
Hanover and other German States, and in its second quarter to the 
entirely shadowy and obsolete claim over France, as typified by the 
golden fleurs-de-lys on the field of azure. 

How the three lions of England arose is by no means clear. Two 
lions were assigned as the arms of William the Conqueror, but there 
is no real evidence that he bore them. Heraldry had not then 
become a definite science, and when it did a custom sprang up of 
assigning to those who lived and died before its birth certain arms, 
the kindly theory being that such persons, had they been then living, 
would undoubtedly have borne arms, and that it was hard, there- 
fore, that the mere accident of being born a hundred years too soon 
should debar them from possessing such recognition of their rank. 
Even so late as Henry II. the bearing is still traditional, and it is 
said that on his marriage with Alianore, eldest daughter of William, 
Duke of Aquitaine and Guienne, he incorporated with his own two 
lions the single lion that (it is asserted) was the device of his father- 
in-law. All this, however, is theory and surmise, and we do not 
really find ourselves on the solid ground of fact until we come to the 
reign of Richard Cceur-de-Lion. Upon his second Great Seal we 
have the three lions just as they are represented in Figs. 22, 43, 44, 
and as they have been borne for centuries by successive sovereigns 
on their arms, standards, and coinage, and as our readers may see 
them this day on the Royal Standard and on much of the money 
they may take out of their pockets. The date of this Great Seal 
of King Richard is 1195 A.D., so we have, at all events, a period of 
over seven hundred years, waiving a break during the Common- 
wealth, in which the three golden lions on their scarlet field have 
typified the might of England. 


the rampant lion within the tressure, the device of Scotland 
seen in the second quarter of our Royal Standard, Fig. 44 is first 
seen on the Great Seal of King Alexander II., about A.D. 1230, and 
the same device, without any modification of colour or form* 
was borne by all the Sovereigns of Scotland, and on the accession 
of James to the throne of the United Kingdom, in the year 1603, 
the ruddy lion ramping on the field of gold became an integral 
part of the Standard. 

The Scotch took considerable umbrage at their lion being 
placed in the second place, while the lions of England were placed 
first, as they asserted that Scotland was a more ancient kingdom 
than England, and that in any case, on the death of Queen Elizabeth 
of England, the Scottish monarch virtually annexed the Southern 
Kingdom to his own, and kindly undertook to get the Southerners 
out of a dynastic difficulty by looking after the interests of 
England as well as ruling Scotland. This feeling of jealousy 
was so bitter and so potent that for many years after the Union, 
on all seals peculiar to Scottish business and on the flags dis- 
played north of the Tweed, the arms of Scotland were placed in 
the first quarter. It was also made a subject of complaint that in 
the Union Flag the cross of St. George is placed over that of 
St. Andrew (see Figs. 90, 91, 92), and that the lion of England acted 
as the dexter support of the royal shield instead of giving place to 
the Scottish Unicorn. One can only be thankful that Irish patriots 
have been too sensible or too indifferent to insist upon yet another 
modification, requiring that whensoever and wheresoever the Royal 
Standard be hoisted in the Emerald Isle the Irish harp should be 
placed in the first quarter. While it is clearly impossible to place 
the device of each nationality first, it is very desirable and, in fact, 
essential, that the National Arms and the Royal Standard should be 
identical in arrangement in all parts of the kingdom. The notion 
of unity would be very inadequately carried out if we had a 
London version for Buckingham Palace, an Edinburgh version for 
Holyrood, and presently found the Isle of Saints and "gallant 
little Wales " insisting on two other variants, and the Isle of Mau 
in insurrection because it was not allowed precedence of all four. 

Even so lately as the year 1853, on the issue of the florin, 
the old jealousy blazed up again. A statement was drawn up and 
presented to Lord Lyon, King of Arms, setting forth anew the 
old grievances of the lions in the Standard and the crosses 
in the Flag of the Union, and adding that "the new two-shilling 

* With only one exception the Sovereigns of Scotland never Quartered the arms o. any 
other kingdom with their own. The only exception was when Mary Stuart claimed the 
arms of England and placed them upon her standard, and thus gave irreparable provoca- 
tion to Queen Elizabeth. 


piece, called a florin, which has lately been issued, bears apon 
the reverse four crowned shields, the first or uppermost being the 
three lions passant of England ; the second, or right hand proper, 
the harp of Ireland; the third, or left hand proper, the lion 
rampant of Scotland; the fourth, or lower, the three lions of 
England repeated. Your petitioners beg to direct your Lordship's 
attention to the position occupied by the arms of Scotland upon 
this coin, which are placed in the third shield instead of the second, 
a preference being given to the arms of Ireland over those of this 
kingdom." It is curious that this document tacitly drops claim to 
the first place. Probably most of our readers Scotch, Irish, or 
English feel but little sense of grievance in the matter, and are 
quite willing, if the coin be an insult, to pocket it. 

The border surrounding the lion is heraldically known as the 
tressure. The date and the cause of its introduction are lost in 
antiquity. The mythical story is that it was added by Achaius, 
King of Scotland, in the year 792, in token of alliance with 
Charlemagne, but in all probability these princes scarcely knew of 
the existence of each other. The French and the Scotch have 
often been in alliance, and there can be little doubt but that the 
fleurs-de-lys that adorn the tressure point to some such early associa- 
tion of the two peoples ; an ancient writer, Nisbet, takes the same 
view, as he affirms that " the Tressure fleurie encompasses the 
lyon of Scotland to show that he should defend the Flower-de- 
luses, and these to continue a defence to the lyon." The first 
authentic illustration of the tressure in the arms of Scotland dates 
from the year 1260. In the reign 01 James III., in the year 1471 
it was ' ordaint that in tyme to cum thar suld be na double tresor 
about his arrays, but that he suld ber armys of the lyoun, without 
ony mur." If this ever took effect it must have been for a very 
short time. We have seen no example of it. 

Ireland joined England and Scotland in political union on 
January ist, 1801, but its device the harp was placed on the 
standard centuries before by right of conquest. The first known 
suggestion for a real union on equal terms was made in the year 
1642 in a pamphlet entitled " The Generall Junto, or the Councell 
of Union ; chosen equally out of England, Scotland, and Ireland 
for the better compacting of these nations into one monarchy. By 
H. P." This H. P. was one Henry Parker. Fifty copies only of 
this tract were issued, and those entirely for private circulation. 
" To persuade to union and commend the benefit of it " says the 
author " will be unnecessary. Divide et impera (divide and rule) is a 
fit saying for one who aims at the dissipation and perdition of his 
country. Honest counsellors have ever given contrary advice. 
England and Ireland are inseparably knit ; no severance is possible 


bnt such as shall be violent and injurious. Ireland is am Integral 
member of the Kingdom of England : both kingdoms are co- 
invested and connexed, not more undivided than Wales or 

The conquest of Ireland was entered upon in the year 1172, 
in the reign of Henry II., but was scarcely completed until the 
surrender of Limerick in 1691. Until 1542 it was styled not the 
Kingdom but the Lordship of Ireland. 

An early standard of Ireland has three golden crowns on a blue 
field, and arranged over each other as we see the English lions 
placed ; and a commission appointed in the reign of Edward IV., to 
enquire what really were the arms of Ireland, reported in favour 
of the three crowns. The early Irish coinage bears these three 
crowns upon it, as on the coins of Henry V. and his successors. 
Henry VIII. substituted the harp on the coins, but neither crowns 
nor harps nor any other device for Ireland appear in the Royal 
Standard until the year 1603, after which date the harp has 
remained in continuous use till the present day. 

In the Harleian MS., No. 304 in the British Museum, we find the 
statement that " the armes of Irland is Gules iij old harpes gold, 
stringed argent" (as in Fig. 87), and on the silver coinage for Ireland 
of Queen Elizabeth the shield bears these three harps. At her 
funeral Ireland was represented by a blue flag having a crowned 
harp of gold upon it, and James I. adopted this, but without the 
crown, as a quartering in his standard : its first appearance on the 
Royal Standard of England. 

Why Henry VIII. substituted the harp for the three crowns is 
not really known. Some would have us believe that the king was 
apprehensive that the three crowns might be taken as symbolising 
the triple crown of the Pope ; while others suggest that Henry, 
being presented by the Pope with the supposed harp of Brian Boru, 
was induced to change the arms of Ireland by placing on her coins 
the representation of this relic of her most celebrated native king. 
The Earl of Northampton, writing in the reign of James I., suggests 
yet a third explanation. " The best reason," saith he, " that I can 
observe for the bearing thereof is, it resembles that country in being 
such an instrument that it requires more cost to keep it in tune than 
it is worth."* 

* Brian Boru, who was killed in battle with the Danes, did much to civilise Ireland ; 
and, amongst other things, introduced the harp. The ancient Irish harp at Trinity 
College, Dublin, was long claimed as the identical instrument of Boru, but it has been 
proved by the ornament upon it that it cannot be later than the fourteenth century. The 
most primitive representation of the harp in Ireland is in a rude sculpture in a church near 
Kilkeny. This is known to date from the ninth century. Though the harp has ever 
shone in the poetry of the Irish people, they have but little claim to it. It has been by no 

most ancient of instruments, figuring in the mural paintings of Egypt centuries before tba 
Christian era. 

34 THB FLAGS OP f Hfe 

The Royal Standard should only be hoisted when the Sovereign 
or some member of the royal family is actually within the palace or 
castle, or at the saluting point, or on board the vessel where we see 
it flying, though this rule is by no means observed in practice. 
The only exception really permitted to this is that on certain royal 
anniversaries it is hoisted at some few fortresses at home and abroad 
that are specified in the Queen's Regulations. 

The Royal Standard of England was, we have seen, in its earliest 
form a scarlet flag, having three golden lions upon it, and it was so 
borne by Richard I., John, Henry III., Edward I., and Edward II. 
Edward III. also bore it for the first thirteen years of his reign, so 
that this simple but beautiful flag was the royal banner for over 
one hundred and fifty years. Edward III., on his claim in the year 
1340 to be King of France as well as of England, quartered the 
golden fleurs-de-lys of that kingdom with the lions of England.* This 
remained the Royal Standard throughout the rest of his long reign. 
Throughout the reign of Richard II. (1377 to 1399) the royal banner 
was divided in half by an upright line, all on the outer half being 
like that of Edward III., while the half next the staff was the 
golden cross and martlets on the blue ground, assigned to Edward 
the Confessor, his patron saint, as shown in Fig. 19. On the 
accession of Henry IV. to the throne, the cross and martlets 
disappeared, and he reverted to the simple quartering of France 
and England. 

Originally the fleurs-de-lys were scattered freely over the field, 
stmte or sown, as it is termed heraldically, so that besides several 
in the centre that showed their complete form, others at the 
margin were more or less imperfect. On turning to Fig. 188, an 
early French flag, we see this disposition of them very clearly. 
Charles V. of France in the year 1365 reduced the number to 
three, as in Fig. 184, whereupon Henry IV. of England followed suit ; 
his Royal Standard is shown in Fig. 22. This remained the 
Royal Standard throughout the reigns of Henry V., Henry VI., 
Edward IV., Edward V., Richard III., Henry VII., Henry VIII., 
Edward VI., Mary and Elizabeth a period of two hundred years. 

On the accession of the House of Stuart, the flag was re- 
arranged. Its first and fourth quarters were themselves quartered 
again, these small quarterings being the French fleur-de-lys and the 
English lions ; while the second quarter was the lion of Scotland, 
and the third the Irish harp ; the first appearance of either of these 
latter kingdoms in the Royal Standard. This form remained in 
use throughout the reigns of James I., Charles I., Charles II., and 
James II. The last semblance of dominion in France had long 

* As may be sen beautifully enamelled on his tomb in Westminster Abbey. 


Since passed away, but it will be seen that alike on coinage, arms, 
and Standard the fiction was preserved, and Londoners may see 
at Whitehall the statue still standing of James II., bearing on its 
pedestal the inscription "Jacobus secundus Dei Gratia Anglia, 
Scotia, Francia et Hibernice Rex" 

During the Protectorate, both the Union Flag and the Standard 
underwent several modifications, but the form that the personal 
Standard of Cromwell finally assumed may be seen in Fig. 83, 
where the Cross of St. George for England, St. Andrew tor Scotland, 
and the harp for Ireland, symbolise the three kingdoms, while over 
all, on a shield, are placed the personal arms of the Protector a 
silver lion rampant on a sable field. 

William III., on his landing in England, displayed a standard 
which varied in many respects from those of his royal predecessors, 
since it contained not only the arms themselves, but these were 
represented as displayed on an escutcheon, surmounted by the 
crown, and supported on either side by the lion and unicorn. 
Above all this was the inscription "For the Protestant Religion 
and the Liberties of England,"* while beneath it was "je main- 
tiendray." The arms on the shield are too complex for adequate 
description without the aid of a diagram ; suffice it to say that in 
addition to the insignia of England, Scotland, Ireland, and France, 
were eight others dealing with the devices of smaller Continental 
possessions appertaining to the new monarch. When matters had 
settled down and his throne was assured, the aggressive inscription, 
etc., disappeared, and the Royal Standard of William and his 
Consort Mary, the daughter of King James, reverted to the form 
used by the Stuart Sovereigns, plus in the centre a small escutcheon 
bearing the arms of Nassau, these being a golden lion rampant, 
surrounded by golden billets, upon a shield of azure. 

The Royal Standard of Queen Anne bore the devices of 
England, Scotland, Ireland, and France. On the accession of 
George I. the arms of Hanover were added, and from 1714 to 1801 
the flag was as shown in Fig. 43. The flag of Anne was very 
similar to this, only instead of Hanover in the fourth quarter, the 
arms of England and Scotland, as we see them in the first quarter, 
were simply repeated in the fourth. 

The Hanoverian quarter, Fig. 43, was made up as follows : The 
two lions on the red field are the device of Brunswick ; the blue 
lion rampant, surrounded by the red hearts, is the device of 
Lunenburg ; the galloping white horse is for Saxony ; and over all 
is the golden crown of Charlemagne as an indication of the claim 
set up of being the successor of that potent Sovereign. The horse 

* Another flag was a plain scarlet one, having this inscription : 
Religion and the Liberty of England " in white upon it. 

1 For the Protestant 


of Saxony is said to have been borne sable by the early kings, 
previous to the conversion to Christianity of Witekind, A.D. 785. 
Verstigan, however, tells us that the ensign of Hengist at the time 
of the invasion of England by the Saxons was a leaping white horse 
on a red ground. The white horse is still the county badge for 
Kent. The flag, as we see it in Fig. 43, was that of George I. and 
George II., and remained in use until the forty-second year 
of the reign of George III. 

On January 2nd, 1801, the Fleurs-de-lys of France were at length 
removed, and the flag had its four quarters as follows : First and 
fourth England, second Scotland, and third Ireland ; the arms of 
Hanover being placed on a shield in the centre of the flag. This 
remained the Royal Standard during the rest of the reign of 
George III., and throughout the reigns of George IV. and 
William IV. On the accession of Victoria the operation of the 
Salique law severed the connexion of Hanover with England, and 
the present Royal Standard is as shown in Fig. 44, being in its 
arrangement similar to that of George IV. and William IV., except 
that the small central shield, bearing the arms of Hanover, is now 

We turn now to the National Flag. As the feudal constitution 
of the fighting force passed away, the use of private banners disap- 
peared, and men, instead of coming to the field as the retainers 
of some great nobleman and fighting under his leadership and 
beneath his flag, were welded into a national army under the direct 
command of the king and such leaders as he might appoint. The 
days when a great noble could change the fortunes of the day by 
withdrawing his vassals or transferring himself and them, on the 
eve of the fight, to the opposing party, were over, and men fought 
no longer in the interests of Warwick or of Percy, but in the 
cause of England and beneath the banner of St. George, the 
national Patron Saint. 

*' Thou, amongst those saints whom thou dost see, 
Shall be a saint, and thine own nation's frend 
And patron : thou Saint George shall called bee, 
Saint George of Mery England, the sign of victoree."t 

The following summary may be taken as correct in its broad facts : From about 
to 1340, the Standard had the lions of England alone on it. From 1340 to 1377, 
England and France together. 1377 to 1399, England, France, and the arms of Edward 

195 to 1340, the Standard had the lions of England alone on it. From 1340 to 1377, 
England and France together. 1377 to 1399, England, France, and the arms of Edward 
the Confessor. 1399 to 1603, England and France. 1603 to 1649, England, France, 

Scotl.-ir.d and Ireland. 1649 to 1659, Interregnum : a period of change and uncertainty, 
when divers changes in the Standard were made that are scarcely worth detailing. 
1659 to 1688, England, France, Scotland, and Ireland. 1688 to 1701, England, France, 
Scotland, Ireland, and Nassau. 1701 to 1714, England, France, Scotland, and Ireland. 
1714 to 1801, England, France, Scotland, Ireland, and Hanover. 1801 to 1837, England, 
Scotland, Ireland, and Hanover. From 1837, England, Scotland, and Ireland, 
i Spenser. 


At the siege of Antioch, according to Robertas Monachus, a 
Benedictine of Rheims who flourished about the year 1120, and 
wrote a history of the Crusade, " Our Souldiers being wearied with 
the long continuance of the Battaile, and seeing that the number of 
enemies decreased not, began to faint ; when suddenly an infinite 
number of Heavenly Souldiers all in white descended from the 
Mountains, the Standard-bearer and leaders of them being Saint 
George, Saint Maurice, and Saint Demetrius, which when the Bishop 
of Le Puy first beheld he cryed aloud unto his troopes, ' There are 
they (saith he) the succours which in the name of God I promised 
to you.' The issue of the miracle was this, that presently the 
enemies did turne their backs and lost the field : these being slaine, 
100,000 horse, beside foot innumerable, and in their trenches such 
infinite store of victuals and munition found that served not only 
to refresh the wearied Christians, but to confound the enemy." This 
great victory at Antioch led to the recovery of Jerusalem. At the 
Crusades England, Arragon, and Portugal all assumed St. George 
as their patron saint. 

Throughout the Middle Ages the war-cry of the English was the 
name of this patron saint. " The blyssed and holy Martyr Saynt 
George is patron of this realme of Englande, and the crye of men 
of warre," we read in the "Golden Legend," and readers of 
Shakespeare will readily recall illustrations. Thus in " King 
Richard II." we read : 

" Sound drums and trumpets, boldly and cheerfully, 
God and St. George ! Richard and victory." 

or again in " King Henry V." where the king at the siege of Harfleur 


" The game's afoot, 

Follow your spirit, and upon this charge 
Cry, God for Harry, England, and St. George ! " 

while in " King Henry VI." we find the line, 

' Then strike up, drums God and St. George for us ! *' * 

At the battle of Poitiers, September igth, 1356, upon the advance 
of the English, the Constable of France threw himself, Lingard tells 
us, across their path with the battle shout, " Mountjoy, St. Denis," 
which was at once answered by " St. George, St. George," and in 
the onrush of the English the Duke and the greater part of his 

* In the same way, we find he Scottish clansmen rushing to the fray to the cry of 
" St. Andrew and our Right." In the ballad of Otterbourne we read that the Scots 
" Uppoi Sent Andrewe loude they crye, 
An I* vsse they show*e on hyghC" 


followers were swept away, and in a few minutes slain. In an 
interesting old poem on the siege of Rouen in 1418, written by an 
eye-witness, we read that on the surrender of the city, 

" Whanne the gate was openyd there 
And thay weren ready in to fare, 
Trumpis blew ther bemys of bras, 
Pipis and clarionys forsoothe ther was. 
And as they entrid thay gaf a schowte 
With ther voyce that was full stowte, 
Seint George 1 Seint George 1 thay criden on height 
And seide, Welcome cure kynges righte ! " 

We have before us, as we write, "The story of that most 
blessed Saint and Souldier of Christ Jesus, St. George of Cappa- 
docia," as detailed by Peter Heylyn, and published in 1633, and the 
temptation to quote at length from it is great, as it is full of most 
interesting matter, but into the history of St. George space forbids 
us to go at any length. The author of the " Seven Champions of 
Christendom " makes St. George to be born of English parentage 
at Coventry, but for this there is no authority whatever, and all 
other writers make Cappadocia his birthplace. The history of St. 
George is more obscure than that of any name of equal eminence in 
the Calendar. According to the " Acta Sanctorum " he was the son 
of noble parents, became famous as a soldier, and, embracing 
Christianity, was tortured to death at Nicomedia in the year 303. 

"The hero won his well-earned place, 
Amid the Saints, in death's dread hour; 
And still the peasant seeks his grave, 
And, next to God, reveres his power. 
In many a Church his form is seen, 
With sword, and shield, and helmet sheen ; 
Ye know him by his shield of pride, 
And by the dragon at his side." 

As Patron Saint, the dragon vanquisher is still seen on our 
crowns and sovereigns, and reference to such a book as Ruding's 
history of our coinage will show that it has for centuries been a 
popular device. 

In 1245, on St. George's Day, Frederic of Austria instituted an 
order of knighthood and placed it under the guardianship of the 
soldier-saint, and its white banner, bearing the ruddy cross, floated 
in battle alongside that of the Empire. In like manner on St. 
George's Day, in the year 1350, Edward III. of England instituted 
the order of the Garter with great solemnity. 


St. George's Day, April 23rd, has too long been suffered to pass 
almost unregarded. The annual festivals of St. Andrew, St. Patrick, 
and St. David are never overlooked by the members of the various 
nationalities, and it seems distinctly a thing to be regretted that the 
Englishman should allow the name day of his Patron Saint to pass 
unnoticed.* Whatever conduces to the recognition of national life 
is valuable, and anything that reminds Englishmen of their common 
ties and common duties and reminds them, too, of their glorious 
heritage in the past should scarcely be allowed to fall into disuse. 
Butler, in his " Lives of the Fathers and Martyrs," tell us that at 
the great National Council, held at Oxford in 1222, it was com- 
manded that the Feast of St. George should be kept. In the year 
1415, by the Constitutions of Archbishop Chichely, St. George's 
Day was made one of the greater feasts and ordered to be observed 
the same as Christmas Day. In 1545 a special collect, epistle, and 
gospel were prepared, and at the Reformation, when many of the 
Saints' Days were swept away, this was preserved with all honour, 
and it was not till the sixth year of the reign of Edward VI., when 
another revision was made, that in " The Catalogue of such Festivals 
as are to be Observed " St. George's day was omitted. 

The Cross of St. George was worn as a badge.f over the armour, 
by every English soldier in the fourteenth and subsequent centuries, 
even if the custom did not prevail at a much earlier period. The 
following extract from the ordinances made for the government of 
the army with which Richard II. invaded Scotland in 1386, is a good 
illustration of this, wherein it is ordered " that even man of what 
estate, condicion, or nation thei be of, so that he be of owre partie, 
bere a signe of the armes of Saint George, large, bothe before and 
behynde, upon parell that yf he be slayne or wounded to deth, he 
that hath so doon to hym shall not be putte to deth for defaulte of 
the cross that he lacketh. And that non enemy do bere the same 
token or crosse of Saint George, notwithstandyng if he be prisoner, 
upon payne of deth." It was the flag of battle, and we see it 
represented in the old prints and illuminations that deal with 
military operations both on land and sea. Ordinarily it is the 
Cross of St. George, pure and simple, as shown in Fig. 91, while at 

* One interesting exception to this is that, on St. George s Day, the jth regiment 
(Northumberland Fusiliers) holds full-dress parade, all wearing the rose, the national 
emblem, in their headgear, and the officers on their sword-knots also. The colours, too, 
are festooned with roses. 

t " The x day of January hevy news came to London that the French had won Cales 
(Calais), the whyche was the hevest tydyngs to England that ever was herd of. 

" The xj day of January the Cete of London took up a thousand men, and mad them 
whytt cotes and red crosses, and every ward of London iound men. 

"The xxj day of January came a new commandement to my Lord Mayre that he 
shuld make men redy in harnes with whyt cotes weltyd with green, and red crosses, by 
the xxiij day of the same moneytlie to be at Leydenhalle lo go forward. 

"The xviij day of May there was sent to the shyppes men in whyt cotes and red 
crosses, and gones, to the Queen's shyppes." MACHVN'S DIARY. 


other times, as in Figs. 66, 67, 68, it forms a portion only of the flag. 
The red cross on the white field was the flag under which the great 
seamen of Elizabeth's reign traded, explored, or fought ; the flag 
that Drake bore round the world that Frobisher unfolded amidst 
the Arctic solitudes that gallant Englishmen, the wide world over, 
bore at the call of duty and died beneath, if need be, for the 
honour of the old home land; and to this day the flag of the 
English Admiral is the same simple and beautiful device, and 
the white ensign of the British Navy, Fig. 95, is similar, ex- 
cept that it bears, in addition, the Union; while the Union flag 
itself, Fig. go, bears conspicuously the ruddy cross of the warrior 

Figs. 26, 27, 74 and 140 are all sea-pennants bearing the Cross of 
St. George. The first of these is from a painting of H.M.S. Tiger, 
painted by Van de Velde, while Fig. 27 is flying from one of the 
ships represented in the picture by Volpe of the embarkation of 
Henry VIII. from Dover on his way to the Field of the Cloth of 
Gold. Fig. 74 is from a picture of H.M.S. Lion, engaging the 
French ship Elisabeth*, on July gth, 1745, the latter being fitted out 
to escort the Young Pretender to Scotland. Though the red, white, 
and blue stripes suggest the French tricolor, their employment in 
the pennant has, of course, no reference to France. The Lion had 
at the foremast the plain red streamer seen at Fig. 25. Fig. 140 
is the pennant flown at the present day by all Colonial armed 
vessels, while the pennant of the Royal Navy is purely white, with 
the exception of the Cross of St. George. In a picture by Van de 
Velde, the property of the Queen, representing a sea fight on 
August nth, 1673, between the English, French, and Dutch, we 
see some of the vessels with streamers similar to Fig. 140, thus 
ante-dating the Colonial flag by over two hundred years. 

As we have at the present time the white ensign, Fig. 95, the 
special flag of the Royal Navy ; the blue ensign, Fig. 96, the dis- 
tinguishing flag of the Royal Naval Reserve; and the red ensign, 
Fig. 97, the flag of the Merchant Service, each with the Union in 
the upper corner next the mast, so in earlier days we find the white 
flag, Fig. 65, the red flag, Fig. 66, and the blue, each having in the 
upper corner the Cross of St. George. Fig. 69 becomes, by the 
addition of the blue, a curious modification of Fig. 66. It is from 
a sea piece of the sixteenth century. It was displayed at the poop 
of a vessel, while Fig. 79 is the Jack on the bowsprit. 

A hundred years ago or so, we may see that there was a con- 
siderable variety in the flags borne by our men-o'-war. Such 
galleries as those at Hampton Court or Greenwich afford many 
examples of this in the pictures there displayed. In a picture of a 
battle off Dominica, on April *?th, 1782, we. find one qf the 


ships has two great square flags on the foremast, the upper one 
being plain red, and the lower one half blue and half white in 
horizontal stripes, while the main mast is surmounted by the Cross 
of St. George, and below it a tricolor of red, white, and blue in 
horizontal stripes. Other ships show equally curious variations, 
though we need not stop to detail them, except that in one case both 
fore and mizen masts are surmounted by plain red flags. In a 
picture of Rodney's Action off Cape St. Vincent, on January i6th, 
1780, we meet with all these flags again. In the representation of an 
action between an English and French fleet on May 3rd, 1747, off 
Cape Finisterre, we notice that the English ships have a blue ensign 
at the poop, and one of them has a great plain blue flag at the fore- 
mast, and a great plain red flag at the main-mast head. In a picture 
of the taking of Portobello, November 2ist, 1739, we notice the 
same thing again. These plain surfaces of blue or red are very 
curious. It will naturally occur to the reader that these are signal 
flags, but anyone seeing the pictures would scarcely continue to hold 
that view, as their large size precludes the idea. In the picture of 
H.M.S. Tiger that we have already referred to, the flag with five red 
stripes that we have represented in Fig. 70 is at the poop, while from 
the bow is hoisted a flag of four stripes, and from the three mast- 
heads are flags, having three red stripes. These striped red and 
white flags may often be seen. 

Perhaps the most extraordinary grouping of flags may be seen in 
a picture of a naval review in the reign of George I. It was on 
exhibition at the Great Naval Exhibition at Chelsea, and is in 
private ownership. All the vessels are dressed in immense flags, 
and these are of the most varied description. It must be borne in 
mind that these are government bunting, not the irresponsible 
vagaries of private eccentricity. Besides the reasonable and 
orthodox flags, such as those represented in Figs. 65, 66, and others 
of equal propriety, we find one striped all over in red, white, blue, 
red, white, blue, in six horizontal stripes. Another, with a yellow 
cross on a white ground ; a third, a white eagle on a blue field ; 
another, a red flag inscribed " For the Protestant Religion and the 
Liberty of England " ; while another is like Fig. 65, only instead of 
having a red cross on white, it has a blue one instead. An altogether 
strange assortment. 

Figs. 67, 68, 72, and 78 are flags of the London Trained Bands 
of the year 1643. The different regiments were known by the 
colour of their flags, thus Fig. 67 is the flag of the blue regiment, 
Fig. 68 of the yellow, Fig. 72 of the green, and Fig. 78 of the yellow 
regiment auxiliaries. Other flags were as follows: white, with 
red lozenges; green, with golden wavy rays; orange, with white 
trefoils ; in each case the Cross of St. George being in the canton. 


In a list before us of the Edinburgh Trained Bands for 1685 we find 
that the different bodies are similarly distinguished by colours.* 

On the union of the two crowns at the accession of James VI. of 
Scotland and I. of England to the English throne, the Cross of 
St. Andrew, Fig. 92, ;yas combined with that of St. George. 

The Cross of St. Andrew has been held in the same high esteem 
north of the Tweed that the Southrons have bestowed on the ensign 
of St. George.* It will be seen that it is shaped like the letter X. 
Tradition hath it that the Saint, deeming it far too great an honour 
to be crucified as was his Lord, gained from his persecutors the 
concession of this variation. It is legendarily asserted that this 
form of cross appeared in the sky to Achaius, King of the Scots, 
the night before a great battle with Athelstane, and, being victori- 
ous, he went barefoot to the church of St. Andrew, and vowed to 
adopt his cross as the national device. The sacred monogram that 
replaced the Roman eagles under Constantine, the cross on the 
flag of Denmark, the visions of Joan of Arc, and many other such- 
like illustrations, readily occur to one's mind as indicative of the 
natural desire to see the potent aid of Heaven visibly manifested 
in justification of earthly ambitions, or a celestial support and 
encouragement in time of national discomfiture. 

Figs. 75 and 76 are examples of the Scottish red and blue 
ensigns. The first of these is from a picture at Hampton Court, 
where a large Scottish warship is represented as having a flag of 
this character at the main, and smaller but similar colours at the 
other mastheads and on the bowsprit. 

The famous banner, the historic " blue blanket," borne by the 
Scots in the Crusades, was on its return deposited over the altar of 
St. Eloi in St. Giles' Church, Edinburgh, and the queen of James II., 
we read, painted on its field of azure the white Cross of St. Andrew, 
the crown, and the thistle. St. Eloi was the patron saint of black- 
smiths, and this craft was made the guardian of the flag, and it 
became the symbol of the associated trades of ancient Edinburgh. 
King James VI., when venting his indignation against his too inde- 
pendent subjects, exclaimed, "The craftsmen think we should be 
contented with their work, and if in anything they be controlled, 
then up goes the blue blanket." The craftsmen were as indepen- 
dent and difficult to manage as the London Trained Bands often 
proved, but King James VI. found it expedient to confirm them in 

* Thus we have the white, the blue, the white and orange, the green and red, the 
purple, the blue and white, the orange and green, the red and yellow, the red and blue, the 
red and white, and divers others. The orange company always took the lead. These 
companies were for a long time in abeyance, and were superseded in 1798 by the formation 
of the Royal Edinburgh Volunteers, but each year the Magistrates and Council still 
appoint one of their number to be captain of the orange colours. His duty is to take 
C|jar|e of the o|d colours and preserve tftero as an interesting relic of a bygnn* insfirntioi]. 


all their privileges, and ordered that the flag should at all times be 
known as the Standard of the Crafts, and later Sovereigns found it 
impossible to take away these privileges when they had once been 
granted. This flag was borne at Flodden Field. Beside the cross, 
crown, and thistle it bore on a scroll on the upper part of the flag 
the inscription, " Fear God and honor the king with a long lyffe 
and prosperous reigne," and on the lower portion the words, " And 
we that is trades shall ever pray to be faithfull for the defence of 
his Sacred Majesties' persone till deathe," an inscription that scarcely 
seems to harmonise with the turbulent spirit that scandalised this 
sovereign so greatly. 

The flags borne by the Covenanters in their struggle for liberty 
varied much in their details, but in the great majority of cases bore 
upon them the Cross of St. Andrew, often accompanied by the 
thistle, and in most cases by some form of inscription. Several of 
these are still extant. In one that was borne at Bothwell Brig, and 
now preserved in the Museum of the Society of Antiquaries, Edin- 
burgh, the four blue triangles (see Fig. 92 for these) are filled with 
the words, " For Religion Couenants King and King- 
domes." The Avondale flag was a white one, having the cross, 
white on blue, as in Fig. 75, in the corner. On the field of the flag 
was the inscription, " Avondale for Religion, Covenant, and King," * 
and beneath this a thistle worked in the national green and crimson. 
A very interesting Exhibition of Scottish national memorials was 
held at Glasgow in 1888, and many of these old Covenant flags 
were there displayed. At the great Heraldic Exhibition held in 
Edinburgh in 1891, one of the most interesting things shown 
was the Cavers Standard. This is of sage green silk, twelve feet 
by three. It bears the Cross of St. Andrew next the staff, and 
divers other devices are scattered over the rest of the flag. It 
is in excellent preservation, and its special interest lies in the 
fact that it is said to have been the standard of James, second 
Earl of Douglas and Mar, and borne by his son at the battle of 
Otterburn in the year 1388. If this be so it is one of the oldest 
flags in existence. 

On the signet-ring of Mary Queen of Scots the white Cross 
of St. Andrew is not shown on its usual blue ground, but on a 
ground striped blue and yellow, the royal colours; in the same 
way that the St. George's Cross is shown in Fig. 71, not on a 

It is remarkable that none of the flags extant bear the motto which the Parliament 
on July jth, 1650, ordered "to be upoun haill culloris and standardis,"t.., " For Covenant, 
Religion, King, and Kingdom." It is characteristic that each bodv claimed independence 
even in this matter. Thus the Fenwick flag bore " Phinegh lor God, Country, and 
Covenanted work of Reformations." Another flag has, " For Reformation in Church and 
State, according to the Word of God and our Covenant," while yet another bears the in- 
scription, " FQF Christ and His truth?, no quarters to ye active eneinies of ye Covenant," 


white ground, but on a ground striped white and green, the Tudor 

Why St. Andrew was selected to be the Patron Saint of Scotland 
has never been satisfactorily settled.* Some uncharitable enquirer 
has hazarded the explanation that it was because it was this Apostle 
who discovered the lad who had the loaves and fishes. Others 
tell us that one Hungus, a Pictish prince, dreamt that the Saint was 
to be his champion in a fight just then pending with the men of 
Northumbria, and that a cross the symbol of the crucifixion of this 
Apostle appeared in the sky, the celestial omen strengthening the 
hearts and arms of the men of Hungus to such effect that the 
Northumbrians were completely routed. Should neither of these 
explanations appear sufficiently explanatory, we can offer yet a third. 
On the martyrdom of St. Andrew, in the year 69, at Patras, in 
Achaia, his remains were carefully preserved as relics, but in 
the year 370, Regulus, one of the Greek monks who had them 
in their keeping, was warned in a vision that the Emperor 
Constantine was proposing to translate these remains to Constanti- 
nople, and that he must at once visit the shrine and remove thence 
an arm bone, three fingers of the right hand, and a tooth, and carry 
them away over sea to the west. Regulus was much troubled at 
the vision, but hastened to obey it, so putting the relics into a chest 
he set sail with some half-dozen other ecclesiastics, to whom he 
confided the celestial instructions that he had received. After a 
stormy voyage the vessel was at last dashed upon a rock, and 
Regulus and his companions landed on an unknown shore, and 
found themselves in a dense and gloomy forest. Here they were 
presently discovered by the aborigines, whose leader listened to 
their story and gave them land on which to build a church for the 
glory of God and the enshrining of the relics. This inhospitable 
shore proved to be that of " Caledonia, stern and wild," and the 
little forest church and hamlet that sprang up around it were the 
nucleus that thence and to the present day have been known as St. 
Andrews, a thriving, busy town in Fife, and for centuries the seat of 
a ^bishopric. On July 5th, 1318, Robert the Bruce repaired hither 
and testified his gratitude to God for the victory vouchsafed to 
the Scots at Bannockburn by the intercession of St. Andrew, 
guardian of the realm, when thirty thousand Scots defeated one 
hundred thousand Englishmen. What St. George could have been 
doing to allow this, seems a very legitimate question, but we can 
scarcely wonder that the Scots should very gladly appoint so potent 
a protector their patron, and look to him for succour in all their 
national difficulties. 

On the blending of the two kingdoms into one under the 

$v Andrew'* day is Nenrember y*k 


sovereignty of King James,* it became necessary to devise a new 
flag that should typify this union and blend together the emblems 
of the puissant St. George and the no less honoured St. Andrew, 
and the flag represented in Fig. 73 was the result the flag of the 
United Kingdoms of England and Scotland, henceforth to be 
known as Great Britain. 

The Royal Ordinance f ran as follows : " Whereas some differ- 
ence hath arisen between our subjects of South and North Britain, 
travelling by seas, about the bearing of their flags, for the avoiding 
of all such contentions hereafter we have, with the advice of our 
Council, ordered that from henceforth all our subjects of this isle 
and kingdom of Greater Britain, and the members thereof, shall 
bear in their maintop the Red Cross, commonly called St. George's 
Cross, and the White Cross, commonly called St. Andrew's Cross, 
joined together, according to a form made by our Heralds, and sent 
by us to our Admiral to be published to our said subjects : and in 
their fore-top our subjects of South Britain shall wear the Red 
Cross only, as they were wont, and our subjects of North Britain in 
their fore-top the White Cross only, as they were accustomed. 
Wherefore we will and command all our subjects to be comparable 
and obedient to this our order, and that from henceforth they do 
not use or bear their flags in any other sort, as they will answer the 
contrary at their peril." 

Such a proclamation was sorely needed, as there was much ill- 
will and jealousy between the sailors and others of the two nation- 
alities, and the Union flag itself, when " our heralds " produced it, 
did not by any means please the North, and the right to carry in 
fore-top the St. Andrew's Cross pure and simple was a concession 
that failed to conciliate them. The great grievance was that, as we 
see in Fig. 73, the Cross of St. George was placed in front of that of 
St. Andrew, and the Scottish Privy Council, in a letter dated Edin- 
burgh, August 7th, 1606, thus poured forth their feelings : " Most 
sacred Soverayne, a greate nomber of the maisteris of the schippis 
of this your Majesties kingdome hes verie havelie complenit to your 
Majesties Counsell, that the forme and patrone of the flagges of 
schippis sent down heir and command it to be ressavit and used be 
the subjectis of both kingdomes is verie prejudicial! to the fredome 
and dignitie of this Estate, and wil gif occasioun of reprotche to this 
natioun quhairevir the said flage sal happin to be worne beyond sea, 

* The question of the Union between England and Scotland was often mooted. In the 
year 1291 Edward I., being victorious in the north, declared the two countries united, but 
this did not last long. In 1363 Edward III. opened negotiations for a union of the two 
crowns if King David of Scotland died without issue. In the reign of Edward VI. the 
matter was again to the fore, but it was left to Queen Elizabeth to take the decisive step. 

I April i2th, 1605. 

46 ttife frLAcS ofr fkfe toofettt. 

becaus, as your Sacred Majestie may persave, the Scottis CroCGt 
callit Sanctandrois Croce, is twyse divydit, and the Inglishe Croce, 
caflit Sanct George, drawne through the Scottis Croce, which is 
thereby obscurit, and no token nor mark to be seene of the Scottis 
armes. This will breid some heit and miscontentment betwix your 
Majesties subjectis, and it is to be feirit that some inconvenientis 
sail fall oute betwix thame, for our seyfaring men cannot be inducit 
to resave that flage as it is set down. They have drawne two new 
drauchtis and patrones as most indifferent for both kingdomes, 
whiche they presentid to the Counsell, and craved our approbation 
of the same, but we haif reserved that to your Majestie's princelie 
determinatioun, as moir particularlie the Erll of Mar, who was 
present, and herd their complaynt, and to whom we haif remittit 
the discourse and delyverie of that mater, will informeyour Majestie 
and let your Heynes see the errour of the first patrone and the 
indifferencie of the two newe drauchties." These draughts are not 
to be found, nor does it appear that any notice was taken of the 

The Scottish Union flag, as carefully depicted in a scarce little 
work published in 1701, and entitled "The Ensigns, Colours, and 
Flags of the Ships at Sea, belonging to the several Princes and 
States in the World," may be seen in Fig. 88. In it will be noted 
that the Cross of St. Andrew is placed in front of that of St. 
George anyone comparing Figs. 73 and 88 will readily see wherein 
they differ. Though its appearance in a book of sea-flags would 
seem to imply that such a flag had been made, we know of no other 
instance of it. Fig. 84 was also suggested as a solution of the 
problem, but here we get false heraldry, the blue in contact with 
the red, and in any case a rather weak-looking arrangement. 

The painful truth is that when two persons ride the same animal 
they cannot both be in front, and no amount of heraldic ingenuity 
will make two devices on a flag to be of equal value. The position 
next the staff is accounted more honourable than that remote 
from it, and the upper portion of the flag is more honourable than 
the lower.* At first sight it might appear that matters are im- 
partially dealt out in Fig. 81, but the position next the staff is given 
to St. George, and in the quartered arrangement, Fig. 85, the 
same holds true. Both these were suggestions made at the time 
the difficulty was felt, but both were discarded in favour of the 
arrangement shown in Fig. 73. 

This Union Flag is not very often met with. It occurrs on one 
of the great seals of Charles II., and is seen also as a Jack on the 

* Thus in the Royal Standard of Spain, Fig. 194, the arms of Leon and Castile being 
In the upper corner next the staff take precedence of honour over Arragon and all the 
Other States therein introduced. 


bowsprits of ships in paintings of early naval battles. It may, by 
good fortune, be seen also on the two colours of the 82nd regiment 
that in the year 1783 were suspended in St. Giles', Edinburgh, and 
a very good illustration of it may be seen in the National Gallery, 
where, in a battle scene by Copley, representing the death of Major 
Peirson, at St. Helier, Jersey, on January 6th, 1781, this Union flag 
is conspicuous in the centre of the picture. We have it again in 
Fig 57, the original flag of the East India Company ; the difference 
between this and the second Union Flag, made on the admission of 
Ireland's Cross of St. Patrick, may be very well seen on a com- 
parison of Figs. 57 and 61. We have it again in Figs. 142 and 143, 
flags of the revolting American Colonists before they had thrown off 
all allegiance to the Old Country. 

A knowledge of the history of the flag has not only interest, but 
is of some little importance. We remember seeing a picture of the 
sailing of the Mayflower, in which, by a curious lack of a little 
technical knowledge, the flag depicted was the Union Flag of to-day, 
which did not come into existence until the first year of the present 
century, whereas the historic event represented in the picture took 
place in the year 1620. In a fresco in the House of Lords, represent- 
ing Charles II. landing in England,* the artist has introduced a boat 
bearing the present Union Flag. In each of these cases it is 
evident that it should have been the first Union that of England 
and Scotland that the flag should have testified to. 

Charles I. issued a proclamation on May 5th, 1634, forbidding 
any but the Royal ships to carry the Union flag ; all merchantmen, 
according to their nationality, being required to show either the 
Cross of St. George or that of St. Andrew. Queen Anne, on 
July 28th, 1707, required that merchant vessels should fly a red flag 
"with a Union Jack described in a canton at the upper corner 
thereof, next the staff," while the Union Flag, as before, was 
reserved for the Royal Navy. This merchant flag, if we cut out the 
inscription there shown, would be similar to Fig. 142. This is inter- 
esting, because, after many changes, so lately as October i8th, 1864, 
it was ordered that the red ensign once again should be the 
distinguishing flag of the commercial marine; the present flag is 
given in Fig. 97. It is further interesting because this proclamation 
of Queen Anne's is the first time that the term Union Jack, so far 
as we are aware, is officially used. 

Technically, our national banner should be called the Union Flag, 
though in ordinary parlance it is always called the Union Jack. 

* In a picture in the collection at Hampton Court, representing the embarkation of 
Charles II. from Holland, the ship has a large red flag charged with the Stuart arms in the 
Centre, but so soon as his position in England was assured he reverted to the royal 
standard of his Stuart predecessors and to the original form of the union flag, a form that 
during the Protectorate was widely departed from. 


The latter flag is a diminutive of the former, and the term ought 
in strictness to be confined to the small Union Flag flown from the 
Jack-staff on the bowsprit of a ship. The Union Flag is, besides 
this, only used as the special distinguishing flag of an Admiral of 
the Fleet, when it is hoisted at the main top-gallant mast-head, and 
when the Sovereign is on board a vessel, in which case the Royal 
Standard is flown at the main and the Union at the mizen. With 
a white border round it, as in Fig. 104, it is the signal for a 
pilot: hence this is called the Pilot Jack. The sea flags now in 
use are the white, red, and blue ensigns, Figs. 95, 96, 97, to 
be hereafter described, while the Union flag is devoted especially 
to land service, being hoisted on fortresses and government offices, 
and borne by the troops. 

Why the flag should be called " Jack " at all has been the subject 
of much controversy. It is ordinarily suggested that the deriva- 
tion is from Jacques, the French word for James, the Union Jack 
springing into existence under his auspices. Why it should be 
given this French name does not seem very clear, except that 
many of the terms used in blazonry are French in their origin. 
It never seems to have been suggested that, granting the reference 
to King James, the Latin Jacobus would be a more appropriate 
explanation, as the Latin names of our kings have for centuries 
supplanted the earlier Norman-French on their coins, seals, and 
documents. Several other theories have been broached, of varying 
degrees of improbability; one of these deriving it from the word 
"jaque"* (hence our modern jacket), the surcoat worn over the 
armour in mediaeval days. This, we have seen, had the Cross of 
St. George always represented on it ; but there is no proof that 
the jaque was ever worn with the union of the two crosses upon it, 
so that the derivation breaks down just at the critical point. The 
present flag came into existence in the reign of King George, but 
no one ever dreams on this account, or any other, of calling it the 
Union George. 

On the death of Charles I., the partnership between England 
and Scotland was dissolved, and the Union Flag, Fig. 73, there- 
fore, was disestablished, and was only restored in the general 
Restoration, when the Commonwealth and Protectorate had run 
their course, and Charles II. ascended the throne of his forefathers. 

The earliest Commonwealth Flag was a simple reversion to the 
Cross of St. George, Fig. 91. At a meeting of the Council of 
State, held on February 22nd, 1648-49, it was " ordered that the 
ships at sea in service of the State shall onely beare the red Crosse 

* "Jaque, espece de petite casaque militaire qu'on portalt au moyen age sur le 
nnes et sur la cuirasse.' BOUILLET, " Diet. Universel." 


in a white flag. That the engravings upon the Sterne of ye ships 
shall be the Armes of England and Ireland in two Scutcheons, as is 
used in the Seals, and that a warrant be issued to ye Commissioners 
of ye Navy to see it put in execution with all speed." The com- 
munication thus ordered to be made to the Commissioners was in 
form a letter from the President of the Council as follows : " To 
ye Commissioners of ye Navy. Gentlemen, There hath beene a 
report made to the Councell by Sir Henry Mildmay of your desire 
to be informed what is to be borne in the flaggs of those Ships that 
are in the Service of the State, and what to be upon the Sterne in 
lieu of the Armes formerly thus engraven. Upon the consideration 
of the Councell whereof, the Councell have resolved that they shall 
beare the Red Crosse only in a white flagg, quite through the flagg. 
And that upon the Sterne of the Shipps there shall be the Red 
Crosse in one Escotcheon, and the Harpe in one other, being the 
Armes of England and Ireland, both Escotcheons joyned accord- 
ing to the pattern herewith sent unto you. And you are to take 
care that these Flaggs may be provided with all expedition for the 
Shipps for the Summer Guard, and that these engraveings may also 
be altered according to this direction with all possible expedition. 
Signed in ye name and by order of ye Councell of State appointed 
by Authority of Parliament. Ol. Cromwell, Derby House, Feb- 
ruary 23rd, 1648." 

In a Council meeting held on March sth, considerably within a 
month of the one we have just referred to, it is " ordered that the 
Flagg that is to be borne by the Admiral, Vice-Admiral, and Rere- 
Admiral be that now presented, viz., the Armes of England and 
Ireland in two severall Escotcheons in a Red Flagg, within a 
compartment."* This arrangement may be seen in Fig. 82. A 
Commonwealth flag that is still preserved at the dockyard, Chat- 
ham, differs slightly from this. The ground of the flag is red, 
but the shields are placed directly upon it without any intervening 
gold border, and around them is placed a large wreath of palm 
and laurel in dark green colour. 

In the year 1787 an interesting book called the " Respublica " 
was published ; the author, Sir John Prestwich, deriving much of 
his material from MSS. left by an ancestor of his who lived during 
the Interregnum. In this the reader may find full descriptions of 
many of the flags of the Parliamentarians. One of these is much 
like the Chatham example already referred to, except that the 
ground of the flag is blue, and that outside the shields, but within 
the wreath, is found the inscription " Floreat Respublica." 

* A contemporary representation of this Long Parliament flag may be seen on the 
medals bestowed on the victorious naval commanders, where the principal ship in the sea- 
fight represented on the reverse of the medal flies this flag at her masthead. 


The flag of the Commonwealth was borne to victory at Dunbai , 
Worcester, and many another hard-fought field, and under its folds 
Blake, Monk, and other gallant leaders gained glorious victories 
over the Dutch and Spaniards, and made the English name 
feared in every sea. 

" Of wind's and water's rage they fearful be, 
But much more fearful are your flags to see. 
Day, that to those who sail upon the deep. 
More wish'd for and more welcome is than sleep, 
They dreaded to behold, lest the sun's light 
With English streamers should salute their sight. " * 

It was not until the year 1651 that Scotland was brought under 
the sway of the Commonwealth, and the ordinance for its full union 
with England and Ireland was not promulgated until April i2th, 
1654. Somewhat later an Order of Council recognised the new 
necessities of the case, and decreed that the Standard for the Pro- 
tectorate be as shown in Fig. 83. England and Scotland are here 
represented by their respective crosses, while Ireland, instead of 
having the Cross of St. Patrick, is represented by the harp. 
In Fig. 80 all three crosses are introduced, but there seems some- 
what too much white in this latter flag for an altogether successful 
effect, and the blue of the Irish quarter, balancing the blue of the 
Scottish, is more pleasing. The Union Flag underwent yet another 
modification, and instead of being like Figs. 82 or 86, the Union Flag 
of James I., Fig. 73, was reverted to, and in the centre of the flag was 
placed a golden harp "the Armes of England and Scotland 
united, according to the anncient form, with the addicion of the 
harpe." On the restoration of Charles II. this harp was removed, 
and Ireland does not appear again in the Union Flag, Fig. 73, 
until January ist, 1801. 

A pattern farthing of this period preserved in the magnificent 
numismatic collection in the British Museum shows on its reverse 
a three-masted ship : at the stern is a large flag divided vertically, 
like Fig. 86, into two compartments, the Cross of St. George in one 
and the harp in the other ; the main and mizen masts are shown 
with flags containing St. George's Cross only, as in Fig. 91, while 
the foremasj bears a flag with St. Andrew's Cross upon it, a flag 
similar to Fig. 92. 

For nearly fifty years before its rise, and for nearly one hundred 
and fifty years after the downfall of the Protectorate, that is to say 
from 1602 to 1649 and from 1659 to 1801, the Union Flag was as 
shown in Fig. 73, but in 1801 the Legislative Union of Ireland with 
Great Britain was effected, and a new Union Flag, the one now in 

* Andrew Marvell on the victory of Blake at Santa Cruz. 


use, was devised. This may be seen in Fig. 90, the noblest flag 
that flies under heaven. 

Though the National Flag is primarily just so much silk or 
bunting, its design and colouring are full of meaning : and though 
its prime cost may be but a few shillings, its value is priceless, for 
the national honour is enwrapped in its folds, and the history c " 
centuries is figured in the symbolism of its devices. It represents to 
us all that patriotism means. It is the flag of freedom and of the 
greatest empire that the world has ever known. Over three hundred 
millions of people in quiet English shires, amid Canadian snows, 
on the torrid plains of Hindustan, amidst the busy energy of the 
great Australian group of colonies, or the tropical luxuriance of our 
West Indian possessions are to-day enjoying liberty and peace 
beneath its shelter. Countless thousands have freely given their 
lives to preserve its blazonry unstained from dishonour and defeat, 
and it rests with us now to keep the glorious record as unsullied as 
of old ; never to unfurl our Union Flag in needless strife, but, when 
once given to the breeze, to emulate the deeds of our forefathers, 
and to inscribe on its folds fresh records of duty nobly done. 

How the form known as St. Patrick's Cross, Fig. 93, became 
associated with that worthy is not by any means clear. It is not 
found amongst the emblems of Saints, and its use is in defiance of 
all ecclesiastical tradition and custom, as St. Patrick never in the 
martyrological sense had a cross at all, for though he endured much 
persecution he was not actually called upon to lay down his life for 
the Faith. It has been suggested, and with much appearance 
of probability, that the X-like form of cross, both of the Irish 
and of the Scotch, is derived from the sacred monogram on the 
Labarum of Constantine, where the X is the first letter of the 
Greek word for Christ. This symbolic meaning of the form might 
readily be adopted in the early Irish Church, and thence be carried 
by missionaries to Scotland. 

A life of St. Patrick was written by Probus, who lived in the 
seventh century, and another by Jocelin, a Cistercian monk of the 
twelfth century, and this latter quotes freely from four other lives of 
the Saint that were written by his disciples. 

St. Patrick was born in Scotland, near where Glasgow now 
stands. The date of his birth was somewhere near the close of the 
fourth century, but as to the year authorities differ widely 372, 
455, 464, and 493 being all given by various biographers.* His father 
was of good family, and, while the future saint was still under the 
paternal roof, God manifested to him by divers visions that he was 

A the year of his birth is scarcely known within a century or so, k is too much to 
expect the month or the day, but the day that is assigned to St. Patrick in the calendar is 


destined for the great work of the conversion of Ireland, at that time 
plunged in idolatry. Hence he resigned his birthright and social 
position, and devoted himself entirely to the salvation of these 
barbarians, suffering at their hands and for their sakes much perse- 
cution. He was ordained deacon and priest, and was ultimately 
made a bishop. He travelled over the whole of Ireland founding 
monasteries and filling the country with churches and schools of 
piety and learning. Animated by a spirit of perfect charity and 
humility, he demonstrated not only the faith but the spirit of his 
Master, and the result of his forty years of labour was to change 
Ireland from a land of barbarism into a seat of learning and piety, 
so that it received the title of the Island of Saints, and was for 
centuries a land of mental and spiritual light. 

On the Union of the Kingdom of Great Britain with Ireland in the 
year 1801, the following notice was issued by Royal Authority : " Pro- 
clamation, George R. Whereas by the First Article of the Articles 
of Great Britain and Ireland it was declared : That the said King- 
doms of Great Britain and Ireland should upon this day, being the 
First Day of January, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight 
Hundred and One, for ever after be united into One Kingdom, by 
the name of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland : and 
that the Royal Style and Titles appertaining to the Imperial Crown 
of the said United Kingdom and its Dependencies, and also the 
Ensigns Armorial, Flags, and Banners thereof, should be such as 
We, by our Royal Proclamation under the Great Seal of the said 
United Kingdom should appoint: We have thought fit, by and 
with the advice of our Privy Council, to appoint and declare that 
our Royal Style and Titles shall henceforth be accepted, taken, and 
used as the same set forth in Manner and Form following : Georgius 
Tertius, Dei Gratia, Britannarium Rex, Fidei Defensor ; and in the 
English Tongue by these words : George the Third, by the Grace 
of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King, 
Defender of the Faith ; and that the Arms or Ensigns Armorial of 
the said United Kingdom shall be Quarterly : first and fourth, 
England : second, Scotland : third, Ireland : and it is Our Will 
and Pleasure that there shall be borne thereon on an escutcheon of 
pretence, the Arms of Our Domains in Germany, ensigned with 
the Electoral Bonnet :* And that the Union Flag shall be Azure, 
the Crosses Saltire of St. Andrew and St. Patrick Quarterly, per 
Saltire counterchanged Argent and Gules : the latter fimbriated of 
the second, surmounted by the Cross of St. George of the third, 
fimbriated as the Saltire." 

the ran 

In the year 1816, In consequence of the Electorate of Hanover being raised to 
ank of a Kingdom, the Hanoverian Royal Crown was subotiiiued for the Electoral 
gear iu the royal arms on the shield and standard. 

the rank 01 a Kingdom, toe Hanoverian Royal Crowi 
headgear iu the royal arms on the shield and standard 


The heralds who devised the new flag of the extended Union, Fig. 
go, have been subjected to a very considerable amount of adverse 
criticism, * but no one has really been able to suggest a better plan 
than theirs. It will be noted in the illustration and in every Union 
flag that is made, that the red Cross of St. Patrick, Fig. 93, is not in 
the centre of the white Cross, Fig. 92, of St. Andrew. The scarlet 
Cross of St. George is equally fringed on either side by the white 
border or fimbriation that represents the original white field, Fig. 
91, on which it was placed, and on the addition of the white cross 
or saltire of St. Andrew on its field of blue, Fig. 92, it fitted in very 
happily. When, however, another X-like cross had to be provided 
for, on the admission of Ireland to the Union, a difficulty at once 
arose. As the Irish Cross would, according to all rule and fairness, 
be of the same width on the joint flag as that of St. Andrew, 
the result of placing the second or red X over the first white one 
would be to entirely obliterate the latter. Even then the Irish Cross 
would not be rightly rendered, as it should be on a white ground, 
and by this method it would be on a blue one, while if we placed 
the Irish Cross on that of St. Andrew, but left a thin line of white 
on either side, St. Andrew's Cross would still be obliterated, as the 
thin fimbriation of white would be the just due of St. Patrick, and 
would not stand for St. Andrew at all. Besides, Scottish indigna- 
tion would not unjustly be aroused at the idea that their noble white 
cross should become a mere edging to the symbol of St. Patrick. 
Hence the somewhat awkward-looking compromise that breaks the 
continuity of direction of the arms of the red cross of Ireland by its 
portions being thrown out of the centre of the white oblique bands, 
so that in each portion the crosses of Ireland and Scotland are 
clearly distinguished from each other. This compromise notwith- 
standing, no more effective or beautiful flag unfolds itself the round 
world over than the Union flag of Great Britain and Ireland. 

The crosses might have been quartered as we see them in 
Fig. 80, but it is clearly better to preserve the idea of the unity 
and blend all three crosses into one composition. No criticism 
or objection has ever come from Ireland as to the Union flag, but 
even so lately as 1853 the Scotch renewed their grievance against 
the Cross of St. Andrew being placed behind that of St. George, 
"and having a red stripe run through the arms thereof, for which 
there is no precedent in law or heraldry." If ever an Irishman 
cared to hunt up a grievance, surely here is one at last the cross 
of his patron saint " a red stripe " I 

* A writer in the Retrospective Review in the year 1827, thus relieves his feelings :" The 
banner ot St. George, argent, and cross gules is still borne as part of the English flag, 
though, from the disgraceful manner in which it has been amalgamated with the Crosses 
of St. Andrew and St. Patrick, it has not only lost all its purity, but presents a melancholy 
example of the ignorance of heraldry and total want of patriotism and taste which must 
have characterised those to whom we unfortunately owe its arrangement," 

54 THfc FLAGS O* tHfc WORLD. 

When the Union flag is flown, it should always be as we have 
drawn it in Fig. 90, with the broad white stripe nearest to the head 
of the flagstaff. It would be quite possible, our readers will see, on 
a little study of the matter, to turn it with the red stripe upper- 
most ; but this, as we have indicated, is incorrect : and, trivial as 
the matter may appear, there is a right and a wrong hi it, and the 
point must not be overlooked. 

Many suggestions at the time of the Union were made by divers 
writers in the public prints, such as the Gentleman's Magazine, and 
the like. One version preserved the flag of the first Union, Fig. 
73, but placed hi the centre a large green circle having within it the 
golden harp of the Emerald Isle : but this is objectionable, as it 
brings green on red, which is heraldically false, and as Ireland 
has a cross as well as England and Scotland, it seems more 
reasonable to keep the whole arrangement hi harmony. Another 
version, and by no means a bad one, is shown in Fig. 89, where 
each cross is distinct from the two others. This appeared in the 
Gentleman's Magazine for March zoth. 1803, and, like all the other 
suggestions, good, bad, and indifferent, suffered from the fatal 
objection that it saw the light when the whole matter was already 
settled and any alteration scarcely possible. 

In view of the changes from the simple Cross of St. George to 
its union later on with that of St. Andrew, and later on still the 
union of both with that of St. Patrick, it is sufficiently evident that 
Campbell's stirring appeal to the mariners of England to defend the 
flag that for a thousand years has braved the battle and the breeze, 
however excellent in spirit, does not fit in with the literal facts, 
though we would not willingly change it for such a version as 

Ye mariners of England, 

That guard our native seas: 
Whose flag has braved since eighteen-one, 

The battle and the breeze. 

The " Queen's Regulations " are very precise as to the hoisting 
of the flag at the various home and foreign stations and fortresses. 
Some few of these have the Royal Standard for use on Royal 
Anniversaries and State occasions only, and these flags are issued 
in two sizes either twenty-four by twelve feet, or twelve by six 
feet according to the importance of the position; thus Dover, 
Plymouth, and the Tower of London, for example, have the larger 
size. In like manner the Union Flag is of two sizes : twelve by six 
feet, or six by three feet. These flags at the various stations are 
either hoisted on anniversaries only, or on Sundays in addition, or 
else daily; thus Dover, besides its Standard, has a Union flag, 
twelve by six, for special occasions, and another, six by three, 


which is hoisted daily. Our foreign stations, Bermuda, Cape of 
Good Hope, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Halifax, St. Helena, 
and so forth, are all equally rigidly provided for in Regulations. 
There is no option anywhere in the matter. A particular fortress 
has to fly a particular flag of a particular size on a particular day. 

The white ensign, Fig. 95, is the distinguishing flag of the Royal 
Navy. It is hoisted at the peak of all vessels in commission, or in 
such other conspicuous position of honour as their rig or (as in the 
case of some ironclads) absence of rig will permit. It is a large 
white flag, having upon it the Cross of St. George, the portion of 
the flag nearest the mast-head being occupied by the Union.* 

Until 1864 the Royal Navy was divided into the white, the blue, 
and the red squadrons, distinguished by the flags shown in Figs. 95, 
96, and 97, but this arrangement, though it had lasted for over 
two hundred years,f was found to have many inconveniences. It 
was very puzzling to foreigners, and it was necessary that each 
vessel should have three sets of colours, so as to be able to hoist 
the orthodox flag for the squadron in which, for the time being, 
it might be placed. It was also a difficulty that peaceful mer- 
chantmen were carrying a red ensign, Fig. 97, exactly similar to 
the war flag of the vessels of the red squadron. It was incon- 
venient in action, too; hence, Nelson at Trafalgar ordered the 
whole of his fleet to hoist the white ensign. An Order of Council, 
dated October i8th, 1864, put an end to this use of differing flags, 
declaring that henceforth the white ensign alone should be the flag 
of the Royal Navy. In the old days the red was the highest, the 
white the intermediate, and the blue the third in rank and dignity. 

Her Majesty's ships, when at anchor in home ports and roads, 
hoist their colours at 8 o'clock in the morning from March 25th to 
September zoth, and the rest of the year an hour later ; and on 
foreign stations, at either of these hours as the commanding officer 
shall direct; and either abroad or at home they remain flying 
throughout the day until sunset. J When at sea, on passing, meeting, 

* All Her Majesty's Ships of War in Commission shall bear a white ensign with the 
Red St. George Cross, and the Union In the upper Canton, and when it shall be thought 
proper to do so, they may display the Union Jack at the bowsprit end." Queen's 

f We read, for instance, in the Diary of Pepys that in the expedition of the Duke of 
Buckingham, in the year 1627, against the Isle de Rh<< that " the Duke divided his fleet into 
squadrons. Himself, ye Admirall, and General in chiefe, went in ye Triumphe, bearing 
the Standard of England in ye maine topp, and Admirall particular of the bloody colours. 
The Earl of Lindsay was Vice-Admirall to the Fleete in the Rainbowe, bearing the King's 
usual colours in his foretopp, and a blew flag in his maine topp, and was admirall of tna 
blew colours. The Lord Harvey was Rear Admirall in ye Repulse, bearing the King's 
usual colours hi his mizen, and a white flag in the main topp, and was Admirall of > 
squadron of white colours." 

t On the hoisting of the Ensign all work stops, and all ranks muster on deck, standing 
with hand raised to the cap in salute, while the ship's band plays the opening bar* 
of the National Anthem. 


joining or parting from any other of Her Majesty's ships or on 
falling in with any other ship the flag is hoisted, and also when 
in sight of land, and especially when passing any fort, battery, 
lighthouse, or town. 

When salutes are fired on the occasion of a foreign national 
festival, such as the birthday of the sovereign, the flag of the nation 
in question is hoisted at the main during the salute and for such 
further time as the war ships of such nation are be-flagged, but if 
none are present, then their flag remains up till sunset. Should a 
British war vessel arrive at any foreign fortified port, the flag of 
the foreign nation is hoisted at the main during the exchange of 

It is a rank offence for any vessel to fly any ensign or pendant 
similar to those used in the Royal Navy. It will at once be 
boarded by any officer of Her Majesty's Service, the offending 
colours seized, and the vessel reported. The penalty for the offence 
is a very heavy one. 

The admiral has as a flag the white flag with the Cross of 
St. George thereon, Fig. 91, and this must be displayed at the main 
top-gallant mast-head, since both the vice and rear-admirals are en- 
titled to fly a similar flag, but the former of these displays his from 
the fore, and the latter from the mizen top-gallant mast-head ; it 
being not the flag alone but the position of it that is distinctive 
of rank. The commodore's broad pendant is a very similar flag, 
but it tapers slightly, and is swallow-tailed. 

The " Naval Discipline Act," better known as " The Articles of 
War," commences with the true and noble words " It is on the 
Navy, under the Good Providence of God, that our Wealth, Pros- 
perity, and Peace depend," and we may trust that the glorious 
traditions of this great service may be maintained to the full as 
effectually under the White Ensign as in any former period for the 
defence of 

' This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle, 

This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, 

This other Eden, demi-paradise ; 

This fortress built by nature for herself, 

Against infection, and the hand of war ; 

This happy breed of men, this little world ; 

This precious stone set in the silver sea, 

Which serves it in the office of a wall, 

Or as a moat defensive to a house, 

Against the envy of less happier lands; 

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England." 

The blue ensign, Fig. 96, is the flag of the Royal Naval Reserve, 
and may be flown by any merchant vessels that comply with the 


Admiralty conditions respecting that service. Such vessels must be 
commanded by officers of the Reserve, and at least one-third of their 
crew must belong to it : they then, the structural conditions being 
satisfactory, receive a Government subvention and an Admiralty 
Warrant to fly the blue ensign. Officers commanding Her Majesty's 
ships, meeting with ships carrying the blue ensign, are authorised to 
go on board them at any convenient opportunity and see that these 
conditions are strictly carried out, provided that they are of superior 
rank to the officers of the Royal Naval Reserve. The men of the 
Reserve receive an annual retainer and drill pay. The number of 
men in the Reserve, at the time we write these lines, is 10,600 in the 
first class and 10,800 in the second. The first class Reserve is 
composed of the men on the long voyage ships, the second being 
the fishermen and coasting crews. In addition to this there are 
some 3,000 engineers and stokers, and some 1,500 or so of officers, 
all equally prepared to rally to the pennant and to take their place 
in the national defence. 

This utilisation of the faster vessels of the Mercantile Marine 
as cruisers in war time has seriously engaged the attention of the 
Admiralty. The Government gives an annual subsidy, and then 
claims the right to the vessel at a fixed charge in case of emergency. 
Such vessels would be of immense service in time of war in many 
ways : for scouting, for transporting troops, and for engaging such of 
the enemy as she felt fairly a match for. When, some few years ago, 
it seemed as though war with Russia was imminent, the Massilia and 
the Rosftta of the Peninsula and Oriental Company's fleet were put 
in commission by telegraph at Sydney and Hong Kong respectively. 
These vessels were provided at once with warlike stores, and were 
at gun practice off the ports referred to a few hours after the 
receipt of instructions, and ready to go anywhere. This Company, 
during the Crimean War, carried over sixty thousand men to the 
scene of operations, and during the Indian Mutiny, the war in 
the Soudan, and all other possible occasions, has rendered the 
greatest aid to the State. The Teutonic and the Majestic, of the 
White Star Line, each carry twelve Armstrong guns, and could 
either of them land two thousand infantry at Halifax in five days, 
or at Bombay in fourteen days, or at Hong Kong in twenty-one ; 
and many other armed cruisers of the Mercantile Marine, that we 
need not stay to particularise, could do as much, and as effectively, 
flying the Blue Ensign as worthily as those we have named. 

" Little England 1 Great in story 1 

Mother of immortal men 1 
Great in courage 1 Great in glory ! 
Dear to Freedom's tongue and pen | 


If the world combine to brave thee, 

English hearts will dare the fight, 
English hands will glow to save thee. 

Strong for England and the right!' 

The Red Ensign, represented in Fig. 97, is the special flag of 
the ordinary merchantman. "The Red Ensign" lays down the 
'Merchant Shipping (Colours) Act" "usually worn by merchant 
ships, without any defacement or modification whatsoever, is hereby 
declared to be the proper national colour of all ships and boats 
belonging to any subject of Her Majesty, except in the case of Her 
Majesty's ships or boats, or in the case of any other ship or boat 
for the time being allowed to wear any other national colours, in 
pursuant of a Warrant from Her Majesty or from the Admiralty." 

This Act goes on to say that any ship belonging to any subject 
of the Queen shall, on a signal being made to her by one of Her 
Majesty's ships, or on entering or leaving any foreign port, hoist the 
red ensign, and if of fifty tons gross tonnage or upwards, on 
entering or leaving any British port also, or incur a penalty not 
exceeding one hundred pounds. A merchantman may also fly the 
Union Jack from the bowsprit, but if so the flag, as in Fig. 104, must 
have a broad white border. 

The earliest form of red ensign is seen in Fig. 66. In a picture 
at Hampton Court, representing the embarkation of William of 
Orange for England, in the year 1688, his ship is shown as wearing 
two flags, one a red one with St. George's Cross in the canton, as in 
Fig. 66, while the other, also red, has the Union Flag in the canton. 
We get, therefore, a regular sequence of red ensigns : that with St. 
George's Cross alone in the corner next the masthead ; that with the 
Union of St. George and St. Andrew this picture at Hampton 
Court being the earliest example known of its use ; and, thirdly, that 
of to-day with the crosses of St. George, St. Andrew, and St. 

Some little degree of flag-lore is valuable not only to the soldier, 
the seaman, or the traveller, but to everyone. For want of this 
knowledge, ludicrous and serious mistakes are often made. Discuss- 
ing these matters with a man of good general knowledge, we found 
that he had a notion that there were two kinds of " Union Jack," 
one, that had most red in it, being the Army flag ; while the other, 
in which blue preponderated, was the flag of the Navy ! Outside a 
large provincial theatre we saw a conspicuous notice indicating that 
the piece then running was entitled " The Old Flag." To emphasise 
this was a picture of a square of British linesmen surrounded by 

Charles Mackay. 


Zulus, while In the centre of the square rose the Royal Standard ! 
As a set-off to this we saw, not far off, a public house called the 
" Royal Standard," flying from its roof the white Ensign I A friend of 
ours brought home for his son a really capital toy model of an iron- 
clad, with turrets, ram, fighting tops, etc., and yet flying the red 
ensign of the harmless merchantman I 

At a church we occasionally pass, the living being in the gift of 
the Queen, the Royal Standard is hoisted on such Church festivals as 
Christmas Day, while at other times, for no apparent reason, the 
white Ensign is substituted the special flag of the War Navy. 
Anyone venturing to point out to the authorities thereof that, as 
the old church could scarcely take up its position as a unit in our 
fighting fleet having, in fact, quite another mission hi the world the 
special flag of the Royal Navy was not the most appropriate, would 
probably derive from the interview the impression that, after all, 
to the churchwardens a flag was a flag, and that it was quite 
possible to make a mountain out of a molehill. 

To one who knows anything about it, the eruption of silk 
bunting, and baser fabrics innumerable that comes to the fore on 
any occasion of national rejoicing, is a thing of horror, not merely 
in the festal disfigurements of the patchwork counterpane or cotton 
pockethandkerchief type, seeing that to some people any coloured 
piece of stuff that will blow out in the wind is a valid decoration, 
but in the painful ignorance shown La the treatment of recognised 
ensigns. Some little time ago, for instance, we found ourselves in a 
town gaily beflagged and radiant in bunting on the occasion of a 
great popular rejoicing. The Royal Standard, betokening the 
presence in the house of some member of the Royal Family, was 
flying with a profusion that made it impossible to believe that all 
the people displaying it could be entertaining such distinguished 
guests. As a set-off, others were decking their houses with red 
flags, the symbols of revolution and bloodshed, or with yellow ones, 
leaving us to infer that such houses were to be avoided as nests of 
yellow fever or such-like deadly infection. The Stars and Stripes of 
the United States were, in almost every case, upside down, as 
indeed were many others ; a thing that, except for the ignorance 
that was its excuse, might be considered as an insult to the various 
Foreign Powers, while the repeated reversal of the red ensign 
implied a signal of distress. The good folks really meant no harm 
to anybody, and they were quite happy to believe, as they strolled 
in their thousands up the leading streets of the town, that their 
decorations were a great success. At the same time, a little more 
knowledge would have done them no harm. As it is an insult 
to hoist one national flag below another, it is a rigid law that in 
all official decorations national flags may not be so placed, but 


enthusiastic and irresponsible burgesses, in the depth of their 
ignorance, ignore all such considerations of international courtesy, 
and in the length of a short street commit sufficient indiscretion to 
give umbrage to all mankind. It may be said that 

" Happiness too swiftly flies, 
Thought would destroy their Paradise" 

that "he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow," that 
" From ignorance our comfort flows, 
The only wretched are the wise " 

but despite all this philosophy, that "where ignorance is bliss 'tis 
folly to be wise," no one is the worse for knowing something about 
the matter with which he is dealing ; and if proverbial philosophy 
is to count for anything in the matter, a not inappropriate moral 
may be quoted as to the rushing in of fools where their betters 
feel a judicious modesty. The confidence of knowledge is better 
than the confidence of ignorance, and would certainly, in street 
flagging, produce a more satisfactory result. 

We have in Plate VI. some few examples of these vagaries from 
sketches that we made at the time. Fig. 45, if it had not got the 
Union in the canton, would nearly be the Danish flag, Fig. 225, but 
the addition of the canton makes it sheer foolishness. Fig. 46 is a 
good example of the notion that anything will do if it be only bright 
enough : it is a mere piece of patchwork, not by any means the 
only one in evidence. Figs. 47 and 50 explain themselves ; it is 
evident that in one case the decorator started with a white ensign 
and in the other with a blue one, and then, feeling that they were 
a little small and insignificant looking, tacked on a goodly amount 
of red material to bring them up to their notion of what would be 
sufficiently conspicuous in size. Fig. 48 is very quaint : there is a 
notion of the white ensign hovering about it, but the Royal Standard 
employed as a canton in one quarter is outside all the proprieties, 
and in any case all the arm of the cross that one would expect 
to see below the canton is absorbed by it. The addition of the 
two red tails to the Royal Standard in Fig. 49 is not by any 
means legitimate, while in Fig. 51 the Royal Standard is made 
the canton of a red ensign, and, as if this were not bad enough 
in itself, the whole thing is flown upside down. Many of the 
so-called flags had no semblance to anything, some were strange 
and abnormal tricolors ; others, chequers : one, we remember, was 
deep crimson, with a broad bordering round three of its edges of 
light blue. Whatever opportunity of going wrong seemed to be at 
all feasible appeared to be eagerly seized by some well-meaning 
burgess, so that the result was a perfect museum of examples of 
how not to do it, and therefore of immense interest. 


Army Flags the Queen's Colour the Regimental Colour the Honours and 
Devices the Flag of the 24th Regiment FacingsFlag of the King's Own 
Borderers What the Flag Symbolises Colours of the Guards the Assaye Flag 
Cavalry Flags Presentation of Colours Chelsea College Chapel Flags of the 
Buffs in Canterbury Cathedral Flags of the Scottish Regiments in St. Giles's 
Cathedral Burning of Rebel Flags by the Hangman Special Flags for various. 
Official Personages Special Flags for different Government Departments The 
Lord High Admiral The Mail Flag White Ensign of the Royal Yacht Squadron 
Yacht Ensigns and Burgees House or Company Flags How to express 
Colours with Lines the Allan Tricolor Port Flags the British Empire the 
Colonial Blue Ensign and Pendant the Colonial Defence Act Colonial Mercan- 
tile Flag Admiralty Warrant Flag of the Governor of a Colony the Green 
Garland the Arms of the Dominion of Canada Badges of the various Colonies 
Daniel Webster on the Might of England Bacon on the Command of the 

TTAVING now dealt with the Union Flag and the Red and 

^ Blue Ensigns, we proceed to see how these are modified by 
the addition of various devices upon them. 

The flags of the army claim the first place in our regard. Each 
infantry regiment has two " colours," one being called the " Queen's 
Colour," and the other the " Regimental Colour." On turning to 
Barret's " Theorike and Practike of Modern Warres," a book pub- 
lished in the year 1598, we find the following passage: "We 
Englishmen do call them of late colours, by reason of the variety of 
colours they be made of, whereby they be the better noted and 
known." This we may doubtless accept as a sufficient explanation 
of the word, and the passage is interesting, too, as approximately 
fixing a date for the introduction of the term, and showing that it 
has been in use for at least three hundred years. 

The Queen's Colour in every regiment of the line is the flag of 
the Union, Fig. 90, bearing in its centre the Imperial crown and 
the number of the regiment beneath it in Roman figures worked in 
gold, and its territorial designation. 

The regimental Colour is of the colour of the facings of the 
regiment, except when these are white, in which case the body of 
the flag is not plain white all over, but bears upon it the Cross 
of St. George. Whatever the colour, it bears in its upper corner 
the Union, and in the centre of the flag the crown and title of 


the regiment, and around it whatever devices, or badges, or other 
distinctions have been specially conferred upon it, together with 
the names of the actions in which the regiment has taken part, the 
records of its gallant service in many a hard-fought struggle in the 
Peninsula, on the sultry plains of India, beneath the burning sun of 
Africa, or wherever else the call of honour and of duty has added to 
its laurels. Thus the regimental flag of the ist regiment of the line 
bears the proud record St. Lucia, Egmont-op-Zee, Egypt, Corunna, 
Busaco, Salamanca, Vittoria, St. Sebastian, Nive, Peninsula, 
Niagara, Waterloo, Nagpore, Maheidpore, Ava, Alma, Inkermann, 
Sebastopol, and several other records of struggles in which they 
bore gallant share ; and many another regiment could show as fine 
a record of service. 

In Fig. 94 we have a representation of the regimental colour of 
the 24th Regiment. As the facings of this distinguished corps are 
green,* the body of the flag is of that colour. Beneath its territorial 
designation will be seen its special badge, the Sphinx, bestowed 
upon it for distinguished service in Egypt, and around are grouped 
the names of famous victories which it contributed to win. 

The 24th Regiment, now in the territorial arrangement in vogue 
known as the 2nd Warwickshire, was first f jrmed in the year 1689. 
In 1776 it embarked for Canada and greatly distinguished itself in 
the American struggle. In 1801 we find it in Egypt, where by its 
gallantry it won the right to bear the Sphinx, f From 1805 to 1810 
it was fighting its way along at the Cape of Good Hope, and then 
went on to India. In 1829 we fi n d it sent off to Canada again to 
suppress rebellion, and it did not return to England till 1841. In 1846 
we see it in the thick of the Punjaub struggle, taking its part right 
well in the brilliant engagements of Chillianwallah and Goojerat, and 
in 1857 it is in the thick of the sanguinary Mutiny in India; and, after 
fifteen years in India, lands in 1861 in England once more. In 1874 
we find it again at the Cape of Good Hope, and in 1877-78 engaged 
in the Kaffir war, and in all times and in all places taking a gallant 
share in upholding the national cause. 

In 1804 a second battalion was added to the regiment. This 
only existed ten years, but in that time it earned by its distinguished 

* Other regiments with green facings are the jth, nth, igth, 36th, sgth, 46th, 4gth, 73rd, 
etc. Regiments with blue facings are the ist, 4th, 6th, 7th, i3th, i8th, 2ist, 23rd, 25th, etc., 
while buff is found in the 2nd, 3rd, I4th, 22nd, 27th, 3ist, 4oth, etc. Amongst the regiments 
with yellow facings are the gth, loth, izth, ijth, i6th, 2oth, 26th, 28th, 2gth, 3010, 34th, 
37th, 38th, etc. White is met with in the iTth, 32nd, 4151, 43rd, 47th, sgth, 65th. Red is 
not so common, since the colour i; that of the tunic ordinarily, but we see it in the 33rd, 
48th, and 76th. Black is also less commonly used, but we find it in the facings of the 
58th, 64th, 7oth, and 8gth Regiments. 

t The " Black Watch," the gallant 42nd, and other regiments also bear the Sphinx for 
their services in Egypt in 1801, where Napoleon received his first serious check from 
British troops. 


bravery the names of the Peninsula battles for the flag,* and at the 
conclusion of the struggle it was so weak in numbers that it was dis- 
embodied. In 1858 a new second battalion was formed, and did good 
service in Burmah, South Africa, etc. Both battalions were in Zulu- 
land in 1879, and with the exception of one hundred men detailed for 
special duty, the regiment, save nine men, was wiped out of exist- 
ence in the fatal field of Isandhlwana. Lieutenants Melville and 
Coghill tore the colours from their staffs and wrapped them around 
their bodies, and after the fight was over and the enemy had retired 
they were recovered. On the arrival of the colours in England they 
were taken by Royal Command to Osborne, where the Queen 
fastened to each a wreath of immortelles, and bestowed on the two 
dead heroes the Victoria Cross as the highest acknowledgment 
then possible to her of her deep appreciation of the sacrifice that 
these young gallant officers had made for her, for England, and for 
the honour of the flag. The colours, therefore, that we have 
represented in Fig. 94, in all their broad blazon of gallant service, 
even in the hour of defeat never fell into the hands of the enemy, 
to be hung in triumph in some Zulu kraal, but were brought back in 
honour and proud rejoicing, since defeat so valiantly met was no 
disgrace, and the honour of the flag and of the gallant 24th was 
without stain. 

As one more illustration of regimental colours we may instance 
those of the 25th Regiment, the King's Own Borderers. Here the 
groundwork of the flag is blue, with, of course, the Union in the 
upper corner next the staff. In the centre of the flag is a representa- 
tion of Edinburgh Castle, and within a band the words, " King's 
Own Borderers." Outside this we have a wreath of rose, sham- 
rock, and thistle, surmounted by the crown. Below this is a sphinx 
for service in Egypt, and below this again the word " Martinique." 
On either side is inscribed " Minden " and " Egmont op Zee," and 
above all, " Afghanistan." In the upper outer angle of the flag is 
the lion on the crown and the motto " In veritate religionis confido" 
and in the lower outer angle the white horse of Hanover and the 
motto "Nee aspera terrent"\ This was originally known as the 
Edinburgh Regiment, as it was raised in four hours in 1689 to 
defend that city ; but George III., for some reason more or less 

* When a regiment consists of two battalions the distinctions won by each are 
common to both, and are, quite justly, the property of the whole regiment. 

t In like manner we find the Royal Marines bearing on their colours an anchor, first 
granted to the corps as a badge in the year 1775. The lion and crown was added to this in 
1795. In 1802, in honour of the gallant share taken by the Marines in the capture of 
Bellisle, a laurel wreath was added to the other badges of honour, and in 1827 the motto 
" Per Hare per Terram " and a globe, surmounted by the word " Gibraltar," was also placed 
on their colours, as a testimony to the services of the Marines all over the world, and 
notably at the taking of Gibraltar. 


satisfactory to himself, changed the name to the one it has ever 
since borne the King's Own Borderers. 

In the year 1811 the Prince Regent, on behalf of the King, 
issued an order to regulate the colours of the Army, and, amongst 
other things, sanctioned the custom that had sprung up of inscribing 
the names of victories on the flags. The custom of inscribing 
these honours, the names of the actions fought, did not begin till 
the battle of Minden, so that the victories of Marlborough and all 
other glorious achievements prior to the year 1759 would have gone 
unrecorded ; but in July, 1881, sanction was given for the Grenadiers 
and the ist, 3rd, 8th, loth, isth, i6th, i8th, 2ist, 23rd, 24th, 26th, 
and 27th Regiments of the Line to add Blenheim and Ramilies to 
their colours. Oudenarde, Malplaquet, and Dettingen * were also 
added to the colours of those regiments that were there engaged. 

By the " Queen's Regulations " these colours are required to be 
of silk, and to be three feet nine inches in length and three feet in 
breadth ; the cords and tassels are to be of mixed crimson and 
gold ; the staff is to be eight feet seven inches long, and surmounted 
by a golden crown on which stands a lion. They are to be carried 
on parade by the two junior lieutenants, and guarded by two 
sergeants and two privates. These form what is called " the colour 
party." The distinguishing badge of the colour-sergeant consists 
of crossed colours, embroidered on the sleeve above the chevrons 
of his rank. 

It has taken something like a thousand years of time to build up 
the British Empire, while the lavish outlay of toil and forethought of 
statesmen, the ceaseless spending of blood and treasure, the brilliant 
strategy by land and sea of a long line of distinguished com- 
manders have all contributed to its birth and proud maintenance ; 
and of all this devotion in the past and the determinate i to uphold 
it in the future, the flag is the living concrete symbol. It is the 
flag beneath whose folds Nelson and Wellington and countless 
heroes more were carried to their rest ; it waved in triumph on the 
Heights of Abraham, and its honour was safe with Elliot at 
Gibraltar ; it was unfurled on many a battlefield in the Peninsula, 
and nerved the arms of those who scaled the heights of the Alma 
and stood unconquerable in the stubborn fight of Inkerman ; and it 
waved triumphant in the breeze at Sebastopol. The sight of it was 
strength, comfort, and hope in the dark days of Lucknow and 
Cawnpore. It floated, a symbol of duty, over the heroes of the 
burning Birkenhead, and to Ross, Parry, Franklin and McClure, in 
the icy wastes of the far North it was an incentive to renewed 

* Blenheim, August 2nd, 1704 ; Ramilies, May sarrt, 1706; Oudenarde, June 3Oth, 1708; 
Malplaquet, September nth, 1709; Dettingen, June i6th, 1743; Minden, August 


effort and a symbol of home. It was the flag of Speke and 
Livingstone in savage Africa, of Burke and Wills in their explora- 
tions in Australia ; and for the honour of England that it symbolises 
men have thought no sacrifice too great. 

The Queen's Colour is a pledge of loyalty to the Sovereign, an 
emblem of the unity of all, while the second colour deals with the 
honour that specially appertains to each regiment a subject of 
legitimate pride in the past and an incentive to prove not unworthy 
in the future of those who gained it such distinction. 

For some recondite reason the Guards reverse the arrangement 
that holds in the Line regiments, as with them the Queen's Colour is 
crimson and bears the regimental devices and honours, while the 
Union Flag is the Regimental Colour. William IV., in 1832, gave 
the Grenadier Guards a special flag of crimson silk, bearing in its 
centre the royal cypher W.R., interlaced in gold, and having grouped 
together in the four corners the rose, thistle, and shamrock. 

The Governor-General in India issued in the year 1803 a general 
order that all the regiments engaged in Wellington's greatest Indian 
victory Assaye should be entitled to the special distinction of a 
third flag, and the Royal authority confirmed the honour. This flag, 
borne by the 74th Highlanders, the 78th or Ross-shire Buffs, and 
other distinguished regiments, was of white silk, having in its centre 
an elephant, beneath this the regimental number, and around it a 
wreath. On blue bands above and below were inscribed in gold the 
words Assaye and Seringapatam. In the year 1830 the general use 
on parade of these flags was discontinued by order, and they were 
reserved for very special occasions. 

The number of colours borne by the different regiments was 
formerly very irregular : sometimes it was one to a company, some- 
times only one to a whole regiment, now it is two to each battalion. 
During the eighteenth century several regiments carried three 
colours, and the 5th, or Northumberland Fusiliers, continued to do 
so until 1833. By an unfortunate accident these were then all 
burnt, and when the question of granting new colours came forward, 
the right to carry the third was objected to, and the claim had to be 
surrendered. King Charles's Royal Regiment of Foot Guards lost 
eleven out of thirteen colours at Edgehill. 

The Standards carried by the Life Guards, Horse Guards, and 
Dragoon Guards are of crimson silk, thirty inches by twenty-seven; 
and the guidons of the dragoon regiments are forty-one inches by 
twenty-seven, are slit in the fly and have the outer corners 
rounded off. The tassels and cords are of crimson silk and 
gold, and each flag bears the R'oyal or other title of the regiment 
in letters of gold in a circle, and beneath it the number of the 
regiment, all being surmounted by the crown, surrounded by a 


wreath of rose, shamrock, and thistle, and the honours. Where 
a regiment has a particular badge, such device will be placed in the 
centre, and the territorial and numerical position placed outside ; 
thus the Scots Greys (the 2nd Royal Dragoons) bear as their badge 
the Imperial Eagle of France, because at Waterloo this distinguished 
regiment captured the eagle of the French 45th Regiment, on which 
were inscribed the words Jena, Austerlitz, Wagram, Eylau, and 
Friedland.* The 3rd Dragoons have as their badge the white horse 
of Hanover, and, as record of good service, Salamanca, Vittoria, 
Toulouse, Peninsula, Cabool, Moodkee, Sobraon, Ferozeshah, Pun- 
jaub, Chillianwallah, Goojerat. The Lancers and Hussars, like the 
Royal Engineers, the Royal Artillery, and the Rifle Brigade, have 
no colours, and therefore bear their badges, devices, etc., on their 
appointments. Thus, for instance, King George II. ordered the i7th 
Light Dragoons (now the iyth Lancers) to wear the device of the 
skull and cross-bones, and beneath it the words " or glory " on the 
front of their caps and on the left breast. This device the " Death 
or Glory Boys " still retain, like the famous Pomeranian Horse and 
the Black Brunswickers, continental corps from whom the Anglo- 
Hanoverian monarch doubtless derived the idea.f 

The presentation of colours to a regiment is always an imposing 
ceremony, as with prayer of consecration, martial music, and stirring 
address they are delivered into its custody, but the bestowal of 
the old colours in some honoured place of safe keeping is yet more 
impressive. In the one case there are the hopes and dangers of the 
future, while in the other the hopes have all been abundantly 
realised, the dangers triumphantly passed, as the tattered colours 
storm tossed, torn by shot and shell are borne in honour to their 
last resting place, where, strife for ever over, they rest in peace 
in the Sanctuary of God, a memorial to all men, until their last 
shreds fall to decay, of duty nobly and fully done. 

Visitors to Canterbury Cathedral will scarcely fail to have 
noticed the flags therein suspended. The colours of the ist Battalion 
of the Buffs (the East Kent Regiment) there find fitting resting 
place, and the last of these were added so lately as October, 1892.+ 
On their entrance, with imposing military ceremony, into the 

* This, with many other interesting trophies of war, may be seen in the Chapel of 
Chelsea College. The Blenheim Colours are now nearly all consumed away with age: of 
one but the staff remains, and many others are now as tender as tinder. French, 
Russian, American, Chinese, and many other flags of former foes may there be seen quietly 
fading away, as the old national animosities have likewise done. 

t Amongst the various devices seen on the flags of the Parliamentarians, was one of 
skull surrounded by a laurel crown, accompanied by the words " MOTS vel Victoria." 

J There are the colours of other regiments as well. Those that we specially refer to 
above will be found in what is known as the Warriors' Chapel. We deal with these 
especially, because, as being the flags of the territorial regiment, they find, with particular 
appropriateness, their resting place in Canterbury Cathedral. 


Cathedral, they were met by the clergy and choir, and a hymn of 
thanksgiving for victory and of safe return from war was sung, 

"Grateful, we bring from lands afar, 
Torn, shattered, but unstained. 
Banners that Thy servant blessed 
Ere the stern conflict came ; 
Lord, let their fragments ever rest 
Where dwells Thy Holy name." 

After a short service of prayer and praise the Dean of Canter- 
bury addressed the great congregation. It might be asked, he said, 
why they, who were the Ministers of the Prince of Peace, should 
take such interest in these military proceedings. It was because 
they recognised in them the greatest force for peace that there was 
in our land, for it was through them that this country of ours had not 
been trampled for centuries under the feet of any foreign foe, it was 
through them that the Pax Britannica prevailed, and that every- 
where where the British Flag was present it carried with it peace, 
and tranquillity, and justice. It was through the help of the army 
that the peaceful people of this country could carry on their 
avocations and serve God and do His work in peace ; and therefore 
the clergy gratefully acknowledged their services, and hoped and 
prayed that everywhere the colours of each regiment might still be 
not only unstained, but covered with laurels in struggling for right 
and for justice. 

Colonel Hobson then addressed the vast audience, reminding 
the younger soldiers present that the regiment to which they had 
the honour to belong was formed more than three hundred years 
ago, and was, therefore, the oldest in the Army. It had won honour 
and renown in every part of the world, and the colours which they 
were that day appropriately laying to rest in the Warriors' Chapel 
of Canterbury Cathedral represented as glorious a record as that of 
any regiment in the British Army. The earliest existence of the 
regiment dated from the movement set on foot in this country in the 
latter half of the sixteenth century, to assist the cause of civil and 
religious liberty in the Netherlands. The dragon, which is on the 
colours, was the crest of the City of London, from whose Trained 
Bands the regiment was formed in 1572; and the regimental march, 
so familiar to them all, was given them by Queen Elizabeth. After 
enumerating some few of the services that the regiment had 
rendered, he concluded by saying : " The few words I have still to 
say I want you young soldiers especially to listen to and to take to 
heart. The colours of a regiment are symbolical of what ought to 
be the watchword of an army duty ; the Queen's Colours duty to 


your Sovereign and to your country ; the Regimental Colours duty 
towards the regiment. In these days the material side of the 
profession of arms is much insisted upon, but I tell you that an 
army without something higher than that, however well cared for in 
other respects, is a bad army, and that when thoughtfulness and 
care for the good name of a regiment is sacrificed for selfish, 
individual advancement, the regiment, as a whole, will suffer. The 
spirit which animated the regiments of the British Army who 
placed those names, of which we are so proud to-day, on those 
colours was, duty first, self afterwards ; and it will be a bad day for 
the British Army if that spirit is ever allowed to depart from it. 
There was no position in the army, however humble, in which 
men could not sustain the credit and honour of their regiment and 
thus contribute to their country's welfare." 

The Dean thereupon solemnly accepted the care of the colours 
and pronounced the Benediction, and the whole audience then 
joined heart and voice, with thrilling effect, in singing the National 

It seems so natural to write of England and of Englishmen, so 
stilted to put Great Britain and Ireland, that one may possibly 
forget that, comprehensive as we intend the terms to be, we 
may, perhaps, wound the susceptibilities of our fellow subjects and 
brother Britons across the Tweed. Let us then turn to a companion 
picture, and see how, with equal honour and devotion, the flags of 
our gallant Highlanders are borne to their rest. 

A movement was, some time ago, set on foot to gather in the 
old flags from the various Scottish regiments and to place them all 
in the Cathedral Church of Edinburgh. This was effected, and the 
perspective effect of these, as they line the nave on either side, is 
very fine. The oldest colours there are those of the Sand, the Duke 
of Hamilton's regiment, presented in the year 1782, acd still in 
excellent preservation. 

When on November i4th, 1883, the old colours borne by the 
various Scottish regiments were deposited in St. Giles' Cathedral, 
they were escorted in all honour and military pomp from the Castle ; 
and says one who was there : " When the colours came in sight, the 
multitude raised a shout and cheered, but the impulse was but 
momentary, for at sight of the array of shattered rags the noise of 
the tumult died away, and a half- suppressed sound was heard as 
through the hearts of the people there flashed a thrill of mingled 
pride and pain. Those who saw it will never forget the scene. In 
the centre the tattered silk of the Colours, and on the fringe and in 
the background a wonder-stricken crowd, as past uncovered heads, 
past dimmed eyes and quivering lips, the old flags were carried." 
When the flags had been received with service of prayer and 


praise, the meaning of it all was summed up in burning words 
of love, devotion, and pride. " We have gathered to-day," said 
the speaker, " for a noble purpose to receive with all honour into 
this national church these flags, which have been borne by our 
soldiers through many a hard fight and in many a distant land. 
1 In the name of the Lord,' said the inspired Psalmist long ago, ' we 
will set up our banners.' In the spirit in which he spoke, these 
banners were first unfurled ; and in that great Name they were 
blessed by God's ministers ere they were committed to those who 
were to carry them, as a testimony that, as a nation, we believe in 
God, and desire that He should guide our destinies alike in war 
and in peace ; and now, after the lapse of years, they are brought 
back to rest in God's house as a testimony to the same truth, that 
we acknowledge Him as the supreme source of all our national 
success and greatness. ' Thine, O Lord, is the greatness and the 
power, and the victory, and the majesty ! Both riches and honour 
come of Thee, and in Thine hand it is to make great and to give 
strength unto all.' It is in this spirit that we place these emblems 
in Scotland's great historic church. The associations that gather 
around these faded banners are of the tenderest and most touching 
kind. They are such as cause the heart to swell and the tear to 
come to the eye. Few, I feel sure, in this vast assemblage have 
not felt in some degree their power. There are soldiers here whom 
they carry back to old days, and to comrades with whom they stood 
shoulder to shoulder in many a perilous hour. The old flag has for 
the British soldier a meaning so deep and powerful that it is 
impossible to put it into words. It is but a piece of silk, often 
faded and tattered, and rent with shot: but it is a symbol, and 
symbols are amongst the most sacred things on earth. It means 
for the soldier his Queen and his country, and all the honour, 
loyalty, truth, and heroism they demand of him. Therefore it is 
that men will follow their colours down into the dreadful pit, and 
would be willing to die twice for them rather than let them be 
taken by an enemy ; and in the hour of defeat, like the heroes of 
Isandhvhana, will fall pierced through with wounds, but with these 
precious symbols, still untarnished, wrapped around them. And 
though to the peaceful citizen these emblems can never mean all 
they stand for to those who have served under them, even to him, 
as they hang here, they may speak of things that it is good for him 
to remember. They may well tell him of the history of his country, 
and the wonderful way by which God has led her, and of the brave 
men He has raised up to fight for her. Nor can we help specially 
remembering that these are the colours of our Scottish regiments. 
Scotland is a poor country compared to the great neighbour with 
whom it is happily united, but it possesses a distinct national life 


of its own which all true Scotchmen would not willingly let die. 
We are proud of our Scotch regiments. We feel that they, of the 
whole army, belong especially to ourselves ; and they too, as they 
have swept on to battle with the cry, ' Scotland for ever ! ' feel, 
we believe, that they belong specially to us. Providence, said 
Napoleon sneeringly, is generally on the side of the strongest bat- 
talions. Be it so ; but will anyone deny that the character of the 
soldier has much to do with the strength of the battalion they 
form ? And was it not the character of .our soldiers a character 
fostered by the traditions of their native land, fostered still more, 
perhaps, by the religious teaching of their native church and parish 
school that made them strong on many a memorable day, and 
never more than on that memorable day at Waterloo, when the 
great commander I have named generously exclaimed, as he saw 
his own ranks yielding before the onslaught, ' Les braves Ecossais!' 
May the sight of these banners inspire every soldier who looks on 
them, whether Lowland or Highland, to echo the desire to hand 
down the name they bear without a blemish ! And should the day 
ever come when we as a people are tempted to succumb to sloth 
and luxury, first to undervalue, and finally to give up, national 
power and privileges which are an heritage from God, and have been 
dearly purchased by those who went before us may these emblems, 
and the stirring memories that cling to them, help us in some degree 
to wake up the last drop of blood left in our hearts, and nerve us 
to bear ourselves like the children of our sires. ' We have heard 
with our ears, O God, and our fathers have told us, what Thou 
didst in their days in the times of old. For they got not the land 
in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save 
them, but Thy right hand and Thine arm, and the light of Thy 
countenance, because Thou hadst a favour unto them. Through 
Thee will we push down our enemies ; through Thy name will we 
tread them under that rise up against us.' " This impressive and 
imposing ceremony closed with the magnificent " Hallelujah 
Chorus " of Handel, and the final Benediction. 

That colours do not always perish in honour may be seen by 
the following extract from the Scots' Magazine of June, 1746, where 
the citizens of Edinburgh assisted at a very different function to 
the one we have just described. " Fourteen rebel colours," says 
the ancient newsman, "taken at Culloden, were brought into 
Edinburgh on the 3ist May, and lodged in the castle. On Wed- 
nesday, the 4th of June, at noon, they were brought down to the 
Cross, the Pretender's own standard carried by the hangman, and 
the rest by chimney sweepers. The sheriffs, accompanied by the 
heralds, pursuivants, trumpeters, city constables, etc., and escorted 
by the city guard, walked to the Cross, where a proclamation was 


made that the colours belonging to the rebels were ordered by the 
Duke of Cumberland to be burnt by the hands of the common 
hangman. The Pretender's standard was then put on a fire that 
had been prepared, and afterwards all the rest one by one a 
herald always proclaiming to whom each belonged, the trumpets 
sounding, and the populace, of which there was a great number 
assembled, huzzaing." 

Various government officials have their special flags. The flag 
of the Union having been established by " Queen's Regulations " 
for the naval service, as the distinguishing flag to be borne by 
the admiral of the fleet, great inconvenience arose from the use of 
the same flag when military authorities, diplomatic and consular 
agents were embarking in boats or other vessels ; so it became 
necessary to make some modification in the flag. It is therefore 
now ordered that a general or other officer commanding a military 
station shall have, in the centre of the Union, a blue shield bearing 
the Royal initials, surmounted by a crown and surrounded by a 
garland ; those in the diplomatic service shall have, in the centre 
of the Union, a white shield bearing the Royal Arms, and sur- 
rounded by a garland ; while consuls -general, consuls, or consular 
agents have the Blue Ensign as their distinguishing flag, and in the 
centre thereof the Royal Arms. The flag of the Lord- Lieutenant 
of Ireland is the Union, and in its centre, as we may see in Fig. 
106, a blue shield bearing the golden harp. 

Different Government Departments have their special flags also. 
Thus the Transport Service has the blue ensign with a golden 
anchor, placed horizontally, in the fly, while the Victualling 
Department has the blue ensign again, but this time as shown in 
Fig. 98, with two crossed anchors. On the blue ensign of the Board 
of Trade is found in the fly a white circle, and within this a ship 
in full sail (see Fig. 105). The Ordnance Department flag, repre- 
sented in Fig. 108, bears a shield with cannons and cannon balls 
upon it, while vessels and boats employed on submarine mining 
service are authorized to carry the blue ensign with as its special 
badge a hand issuing from a mural crown, and grasping a thunder- 
bolt. The Telegraph branch of the Post-Office has a very striking 
device : a representation of Father Time with his hour glass 
smashed by lightning. The red ensign is employed by the Custom 
House and the Excise, in the first case having, as we see in 
Fig. 107, a golden crown in the fly, and, in the second, a crown 
and star. The flag of the Admiralty is a very striking one 
(Fig. 99). This association of the anchor with the Admiralty 
is a very natural one; we see it not only in our English flag, 
but in those of France, Italy, Germany, Russia, etc. Our 
Admiralty flag is hoisted on any ship when the Commissioners 


of the Admiralty are on board,* and it is also hoisted at the fore 
top-gallant mast of every ship on which the Queen may be on 
board. Vessels carrying Her Majesty's mail fly on the fore-mast 
a white burgee, having in its centre a crown, and on one side 
of it the word " Royal " and on the other " Mail " ; the words 
Royal Mail and the crown being in red on the white field of 
the flag. 

The White Ensign, Fig. 95, the special flag of Her Majesty's 
Navy, is, by very exceptional privilege, allowed to be flown by the 
Royal Yacht Squadron. This distinction was conferred on that 
Club in the year 1829, the Club itself being established in 1812. f 
In the old days, when the Royal Navy used the red, white, and blue 
ensigns, the red ensign was of the highest dignity ; and it was this 
from 1821 to 1829 that the Royal Yacht Squadron flew, but, as the 
red ensign was also used by merchant vessels, they adopted in 1829 
the white ensign as being more distinctive. In 1842 the Admiralty 
drew up a Minute that no warrant should be issued to any other 
yacht club to fly the white ensign, and that those privileged Clubs 
that already had it must henceforth forego it. Copies of the 
minute were accordingly sent to the Royal Western of England, 
Royal Thames, Royal Southern, and some two or three other 
clubs, but, by some oversight, the Royal Western of Ireland was 
overlooked, and that Club continued to use the white ensign until 
the mistake was discovered by the Admiralty in the year 1857. 
Since that date the Royal Yacht Squadron, which has always 
been under the special patronage of Royalty, has been alone in 
its use. Its value is purely sentimental ; it carries no substantial 
privilege. A rather marked case arose, in fact, to the contrary in 
1883, when Lord Annesley's yacht, the Seabird, was detained by 
the Turkish authorities at the Dardanelles in consequence of her 
bearing the white ensign. No foreign man-of-war is allowed to 
pass the Dardanelles without special permission ; and the white 

* There is now no Lord High Admiral of Great Britaxi ; his functions are analogous 
to those of the Commander-ln-Chief of the Army; the last Lord High Admiral was 
William IV., who received this appointment when Prince of Wales. The office is now 
said to be " in commission " its functions are performed by the Lords Commissioners of 
the Admiralty, a board uniting the dual control which is exercised over the land Forces 
by the War Office and the Horse Guards. Commissions of Naval Officers are not signed 
by the Queen, they are headed " By the Commissioners for executing the office of Lord 
High Admiral of the United Kingdom," etc. ; and they are signed by two of the Lords. 

t We find the Royal Yacht Club, in 1815, and the Royal Thames Yacht Club, in 1835, 
flying what would be a white ensign if it had but the great Cross of St. George upon it ; an 
entirely white flag having the Union in the corner next the staff. One may get a fair 
notion of its effect by looking at Fig. 154, but imagining the Union in the place of the device 
there seen. The Royal Yacht Club burgee at this period was plain white, without any 
device whatever. The burgee of the other Club we have named has undergone many 
changes. In 1823 it is scarlet, with the letters T.Y.C. in white; in 1831 the prefix Royal 
has been gained, and the flag, still red, has the crown and the R.T.Y.C. in white upon it ; 
while in 1834 we still find the crown and the sarac letters, but now. not wh^e on r-d but 
rec! on white. 


ensign of the Royal Navy brought her within that category. On 
account of this, all yacht owners were warned that should they 
wish to pass the Dardanelles under the white or blue ensign, 
the latter being also the flag of the Royal Naval Reserve, they 
must first obtain an Imperial Irad6, otherwise they were recom- 
mended to display the red ensign. Austria-Hungary, Spain, 
Denmark, Italy, Sweden, Norway, and France have each, in like 
manner, given to the leading club of the country the privilege of 
flying the naval flag. In America and Russia a special ensign 
has been accorded to all yacht clubs, and all take equal rank. 
Some years ago the Royal Cork Yacht Club wished to adopt a 
green ensign, but the Admiralty refused to sanction a new colour. 

The Blue Ensign is conferred on certain Yacht Clubs by special 
Admiralty warrant. The Royal Eastern, Royal Barrow, Royal 
Clyde, Royal Highland, Royal Northern, Royal Western of England, 
Royal Cinque Ports, Royal Albert, Royal Dorset, etc., fly the Blue 
Ensign pure and simple ; others have a distinguishing badge on 
the fly, thus the Royal Irish has a golden harp and crown, the 
Royal Ulster a white shield with the red hand, the Royal Cornwall 
the Prince of Wales' Feathers, the Royal Harwich a golden 
rampant lion, and so forth. The clubs flying the Red Ensign 
change it slightly from that flown by the Merchant Service; thus 
the Royal St. George, Royal Victoria, and Royal Portsmouth have a 
golden crown in the centre of the Union canton, while the Royal 
Yorkshire has a white rose and gold crown on the fly, and the 
Royal Dart a golden dart and crown. Each club has also its 
distinguishing burgee, and ordinarily of the same colour as its 
ensign; thus, though the Royal Clyde and the Royal Highland 
both fly the plain blue ensign, the Royal Clyde burgee has on it 
the yellow shield and red lion rampant, while the Royal Highland 
has the white cross of St. Andrew. Fig. 100 is the burgee of the 
Ranelagh Club, Fig. 101 of the Yare, Fig. 102 of the Royal Thames, 
Fig. 103 of the Dublin Bay Club. 

Besides these club ensigns and burgees, each yacht bears its 
owner's individual device, that is supposed to distinguish it from 
all others, though one finds, in looking through a series of such 
flags, that some of the simpler devices are borne by more than one 
yacht. Every yacht club has its special burgee, which is flown 
by each yacht in the club at her truck, but when the vessel is racing 
the individual flag takes its place. Many of these flags, though 
simple in character, are very effective and striking. The lower 
flags on Plate XII. are good typical examples. Fig. 121 is the 
yacht flag of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales the flag 
of the well-known Britannia ; and Figs. 122 and 123 arc those 
respectively of the equally-famed Aiha, and Valkyrie. 


Merchant vessels are permitted to adopt any House or Company 
flag on condition that it does not resemble any national flag. Its 
great use is that it should be clearly distinctive ; and many of the 
flags employed are of strict heraldic propriety, and very attractive, 
while others are about as unsatisfactory and bald as they well could 
be. It would clearly be a painful and invidious thing to pick out 
any of these latter, so we can only suggest that any of our readers 
who have an opportunity of visiting busy ports, such as London, 
Southampton, Bristol, Liverpool, should collect their own awful 
examples and paint them in the margin of this page. 

We may point out, by the way, that anyone sketching flags 
would be greatly assisted by knowing tho symbols for the various 
colours, as it may well be that anyone might have only a pencil in 
his pocket when desiring to make such a memorandum. White is 
expressed by simply leaving the paper plain, yellow by dotting the 
surface over, red by a series of upright lines, blue by horizontal 
lines, green by sloping lines, and black by a series of upright lines 
crossed by others at right angles to them. These are the colours 
used in books on heraldry, and they are very easily remembered. 
On some of our coins the colours of the arms in the shield are thus 
expressed, and on heraldic book-plates and the like they may be 
also seen wherever, in fact, colour has to be expressed or notified 
without the actual use of it. Our readers will find that if they 
will sketch out in black and white some few of our examples they 
will soon gain a useful facility that may stand them in good stead 
whenever for this or any other purpose they want to make a colour 
memorandum, and have only a pencil or pen and ink to make 
it with. 

In the upper portion of Plate XII. we have several illustrations 
of Company flags. Fig. 109 is the well-known ensign of Green's 
Blackwall Line, while Fig. no is that of the Cunard. The 
Peninsular and Oriental flag (Fig. in) is divided by lines from 
corner to corner into four triangles, the upper one white, the 
lower yellow, the hoist blue, and the fly red. This division into 
triangles is a rather favourite one; we see it again in Fig. 112, 
the Flag of the Australasian Steam Navigation Company. In 
the flag of the Demerara and Berbice Steamship Company the 
upper and lower portions are white, and the two side portions red ; 
in the flag of the vessels belonging to Galbraith, Pembroke and Co., 
the upper is red, the lower blue, and the two sides white. In 
another company, that of Wesencraft of Newcastle, the colours are 
the same as the P. and O. flag, though differently placed, the blue 
being at the top, the red at the bottom, the yellow at the hoist, 
and the white at the fly. Fig. 113 is the flag of the fleet of Devitt 
and Moore, an Australian Line. Fig. 114 betokens the vessels of the 


Canadian Pacific Company, and Fig. 115 the ships of the Castle 
Line to South Africa. Fig. 116 is the Company flag of the Union 
Steamship Company, of Southampton, while Fig. 117 is the device 
of the Mediterranean and New York Steamship Company. Our 
remaining illustrations are ; Fig. 118, the flag adopted by Messrs. 
Houlden Brothers; Fig. 119, that of the popular White 
Star Line; and Fig. 120, that of the New Zealand Shipping 
Company. The well-known Allan Line has as its house flag 
the three upright strips of blue, white, and red that we see in 
the French tricolor, Fig. 191, plus a plain red burgee that is 
always hoisted immediately above it. The Allan is the largest 
private ship-owning company in the world ; in the course of the 
year there are some two hundred arrivals and departures of 
their vessels at or from Glasgow, and some fifty thousand people 
are carried annually to or from America. During the Crimean 
War many of the steamers of this line were chartered by the 
French Government for the transport of their troops, and it is 
in memory of this that the vessels of the Allan fleet adopt the 
tricolor as their house flag. 

That we have by no means exhausted this portion of our 
subject is patent from the fact that in a book before us that 
is specially devoted to these house flags seven hundred and eighty- 
two examples are given, wherein we find not only stripes, crosses, 
and such-like simple arrangements, but crescents, stars, anchors, 
lions, stags, thistles, castles, bells, keys, crowns, tridents, and many 
other forms. 

In earlier days merchant ships flew rather the flag of their port 
than of their nation, so that a vessel was known to be of Plymouth, 
Marseilles, Dantzic, or Bremen by the colours displayed. Thus 
the flag of Marseilles was blue with a white cross upon it ; Texel, 
a flag divided horizontally into two equal strips, the upper being 
green and the lower black; Rotterdam was indicated by a flag 
having six horizontal green stripes upon it, the interspaces being 
white ; Cherbourg, blue, white, blue, white, horizontally arranged ; 
Riga, a yellow cross on a blue ground. 

The British Empire the Greater Britain across the seas, some 
eighty times larger in area than the home islands of its birth 
must now engage our attention. Its material greatness is amazing, 
far exceeding that of any other empire the world has ever seen, 
and its moral greatness is equal to its material. Wherever the 
flag of Britain flies, there is settled law, property is protected, 
religion is free ; it is no mere symbol of violence or rapine, or even 
of conquest. It is what it is because it represents everywhere peace, 
and civilization, and commerce. Protected by the Pax Britannica 
dwell four hundred millions out of every race under heaven, the 


Mother of Nations extending to Jew, Parsee, Arab, Chinese, Black- 
foot, Maori, the liberties that were won at Runnymead and in many 
another stern fight for life and freedom. In every school-room in 
the United States hangs the flag of their Union, the Stars and 
Stripes ; and devotion to all that it symbolises is an essential part 
of the teaching. We in turn might well in our systems of education 
give a larger space to the history, laws, and literature of our great 
Empire, taking a more comprehensive view than is now ordinarily 
the case, studying the growth of the mighty States that have sprung 
into existence through British energy, and attaching at least as 
much importance to the lives of the men who have built up this 
goodly heritage as to the culinary shortcomings of Alfred or the 
schemes of Perkin Warbeck. 

As regards the value of our Colonies to the Empire, the follow- 
ing extract from a speech 'made by the Prince of Wales at the 
Royal Colonial Institute may very aptly be quoted : 

" We regard the Colonies as integral parts of the Empire, and 
our warmest sympathies are with our brethren beyond the seas, 
who are no less dear to 'us than if they dwelt in Surrey or Kent. 
Mutual interests, as well as ties of affection, unite us as one people, 
and so long as we hold together we are unassailable from without. 
From a commercial point of view, the Colonies and India are 
among the best customers for home manufacturers, it being com- 
puted that no less than one-third of the total exports are absorbed 
by them. They offer happy and prosperous homes to thousands 
who are unable to gain a livelihood within the narrow limits of 
these islands, owing to the pressure of over-population and con- 
sequent over-competition. In transplanting themselves to our own 
Colonies, instead of to foreign lands, they retain their privileges as 
citizens of this great Empire, and live under the same flag as 
subjects of the same Sovereign. As Professor Seeley remarks in 
his very interesting work, ' The Expansion of England,' ' English- 
men in all parts of the world remember that they are of one 
blood and one religion ; that they have one history, and one 
language and literature.' We are, in fact, a vast English nation, 
and we should take great care not to allow the emigrants who 
have gone forth from among us to imagine that they have in 
the. slightest degree ceased to belong to the same community 
as ourbelvea." 

Our statesmen ana thinkers have never failed to recognise 
the brotherhood of Greater Britain. Of this fact it would 
be easy enough to reproduce illustrations by the score. We 
need, however, here but refer to the sentiments of the Earl 
of Roseoery on the expansion of the Empire, where we find him 


" Since 1868 the Empire has been growing by leaps and bounds. 
That is, perhaps, not a process which everybody witnesses with 
unmixed satisfaction. It is not always viewed with unmixed satis- 
faction in circles outside these islands. There are two schools who 
view with some apprehension the growth of our Empire. The first 
is composed of those nations who, coming somewhat late into the 
field, find that Great Britain has some of the best plots already 
marked out. To those nations I will say that they must remember 
that our Colonies were taken to use a well-known expression at 
prairie value, and that we have made them what they are. We 
may claim that whatever lands other nations may have touched 
and rejected, and we have cultivated and improved, are fairly parts 
of our Empire, which we may claim to possess by an indisputable 
title. But there is another ground on which the extension of our 
Empire is greatly attacked, and the attack comes from a quarter 
nearer home. It is said that our Empire is already large enough, 
and does not need extension. That would be true enough if the 
world were elastic, but, unfortunately, it is not elastic, and we are 
engaged at the present moment, in the language of mining, in 
1 pegging out claims for the future.' We have to consider not what 
we want now, but what we shall want in the future. We have to 
consider what countries must be developed, either by ourselves or 
some other nation, and we have to remember that it is part of our 
responsibility and heritage to take care that the world, as far as 
it can be moulded by us, shall receive an ' English-speaking ' com- 
plexion, and not that of another nation. We have to look forward 
beyond the chatter of platforms, and the passions of party, to the 
future of the race of which we are at present the trustees, and we 
should, in my opinion, grossly fail in the task that has been laid 
upon us did we shrink from responsibilities, and decline to take our 
share in a partition of the world which we have not forced on, but 
which has been forced upon us." 

Statistics of area of square miles, population, and so forth, can 
be readily found by those who care to seek for them, and we need 
give them no place here ; but let us at least try and realise just by 
bare enumeration something of what this Greater Britain is. In 
Europe it includes, besides the home islands, Gibraltar, Malta, 
Cyprus. In Asia the great Indian Empire, Ceylop- Aden, Hong- 
Kong, North Borneo, the Straits Settlements, Perim, Socotra, 
Labuan. In America the Dominion of Canada, Newfoundland, 
Trinidad, Guiana, Honduras, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Bermudas, 
Barbadoes, Falkland Isles, the Leeward and Windward Isles. In 
Australasia New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Tas- 
mania, Queensland, New Zealand, Fiji, New Guinea. In Africa 
the Cape Colony, Basutoland, Bechuanaland, Zululand, Natal, 


Gold Coast, Lagos, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Mauritius, Seychelles, 
Ascension, St. Helena. Our list is by no means a complete one. 

Newfoundland was the earliest British colony, the settlement 
being made about the year 1500. Many of our colonies have been 
thus created by peaceful settlement, while others have fallen to us 
in victorious fights with France, Holland, Spain, and other Powers, 
or have been ceded by treaty. 

The flags of our colonies are those of the Empire, with, in some 
cases, special modifications. In all our colonies, for instance, the 
Royal Standard, as we see it in England, is displayed on the fort- 
resses on the anniversaries of the birth and coronation of the 

The Blue Ensign is the flag borne by any vessel maintained 
by any colony under the clauses of the Colonial Defence Act, 
28 Vic., Cap. 14. The "Queen's Regulations" state that "Any 
vessel provided and used, under the third section of the said Act, 
shall wear the Blue Ensign, with the seal or badge of the Colony 
in the fly thereof, and a blue pendant. All vessels belonging to, or 
permanently in the service of, the Colony, but not commissioned as 
vessels of war under the Act referred to, shall wear a similar blue 
ensign, but not the pendant." In Figs. 127, 128, 130, and 135 we 
have the Government Ensigns of four of our great Colonies Cape 
Colony, Queensland, Canada, and Victoria while in Fig. 140 we 
have the blue pendant. 

This Colonial Defence Act of 1865 is so important in its bearings 
on the possibilities of Naval defence that it seems well to quote 
from it some of its provisions. Its object is to enable the several 
Colonial possessions of Her Majesty to make better provision for 
Naval defence, and, to that end, to provide and man vessels of war; 
and also to raise a volunteer force to form part of the Royal 
Naval Reserve, to be available for the general defence of the 
Colony in case of need. This Act declares that " in any Colony it 
shall be lawful for the proper Legislative Authority, with the 
Approval of Her Majesty in Council, from Time to Time to make 
Provision for effecting at the Expense of the Colony all or any of 
the Purposes following: 

" For providing, maintaining, and using a Vessel or Vessels 
of War, subject to such Conditions and for such Purposes 
as Her Majesty in Council from Time to Time approves. 

" For raising and maintaining Seamen and others entered on 
the Terms of being bound to serve as ordered in any such 


" For raising and maintaining a Body of Volunteers entered on 
the Terms of being bound to general Service in the Royal 
Navy in Emergency, and, if in any Case the proper 
Legislative Authority so directs, on the further Terms of 
being bound to serve as ordered in any such Vessel as 
aforesaid : 

" For appointing Commissioned, Warrant, and other Officers 
to train and command or serve as Officers with any such 
Men ashore or afloat, on such Terms and subject to such 
Regulations as Her Majesty in Council from Time to Time 
approves : 

" For obtaining from the Admiralty the Services of Commis- 
sioned, Warrant, and other Officers and of Men of the 
Royal Navy for the last-mentioned Purposes : 

" For enforcing good Order and Discipline among the Men and 
Officers aforesaid while ashore or afloat within the Limits 
of the Colony : 

" For making the Men and Officers aforesaid, while ashore 
or afloat within the Limits of the Colony or elsewhere, 
subject to all Enactments and Regulations for the Time 
being in force for the Discipline of the Royal Navy. 

" Volunteers raised as aforesaid in any Colony shall form Part 
of the Royal Naval Reserve, in addition to the Volunteers who may 
be raised under the Act of 1859, but, except as in this Act expressly 
provided, shall be subject exclusively to the Provisions made as 
aforesaid by the proper Legislative Authority of the Colony. 

" It shall be lawful for Her Majesty in Council from Time to 
Time as Occasion requires, and on such Conditions as seem fit, 
to authorize the Admiralty to issue to any Officer of the Royal 
Navy volunteering for the Purpose a Special Commission for 
Service in accordance with the Provisions of this Act. 

" It shall be lawful for Her Majesty in Council from Time to 
Time as Occasion requires, and on such Conditions as seem fit, to 
authorize the Admiralty to accept any Offer for the Time being 
made or to be made by the Government of a Colony, to place at 
Her Majesty's Disposal any Vessel of War provided by that 
Government and the Men and Officers from Time to Time serving 
therein ; and while any Vessel accepted by the Admiralty under 
such Authority is at the Disposal of Her Majesty, such Vessel shall 
be deemed to all Intents a Vessel of War of the Royal Navy, and 


the Men and Officers from Time to Time serving in such Vessels 
shall be deemed to all Intents Men and Officers of the Royal Navy, 
and shall accordingly be subject to all Enactments and Regulations 
for the Time being in force for the Discipline of the Royal Navy. 

" It shall be lawful for Her Majesty in Council from Time to 
Time as Occasion requires, and on such Conditions as seem fit, to 
authorize the Admiralty to accept any Offer for the Time being 
made or to be made by the Government of a Colony, to place at 
Her Majesty's Disposal for general Service in the Royal Navy 
the whole or any Part of the Body of Volunteers with all or any of 
the Officers raised and appointed by that Government in accord- 
ance with the Provisions of this Act ; and when any such Offer is 
accepted such ot the Provisions of the Act of 1859 as relate to Men 
of the Royal Naval Reserve raised in the United Kingdom when in 
actual Service shall extend and apply to the Volunteers whose 
Services are so accepted." 

As the Act winds up by saying that " nothing in this Act shall 
take away or abridge any power vested in or exerciseable by the 
Legislature or Government of any Colony," it is evident that the 
whole arrangement is a purely voluntary one. 

The vessels of the Mercantile Marine registered as belonging 
to any of the Colonies, fly the red ensign without any distinguish- 
ing badge, so that a Victorian or Canadian merchantman coming 
up the Thames or Mersey would probably fly a flag in all respects 
similar (Fig. 97) to that of a merchant vessel owned in the United 
Kingdom. There is, however, no objection to colonial merchant 
vessels carrying distinctive flags with the badge of the Colony 
thereon, in addition to the red ensign, provided that the Lords 
Commissioners of the Admiralty give their warrant of authoriza- 
tion. The red ensign differenced may be seen in Fig. 129, the 
merchant flag of Canada,* and in Fig. 134 that of Victoria, the 
device on this latter bearing the five stars, representing the con- 
stellation of the Southern Cross a simple, appropriate, and beauti- 
ful device. 

* "By THE COMMISSIONERS for executing the office of Lord High Admiral of the United 
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, &c. 

" WHEREAS, we deem it expedient that Canadian registered vessels shall be permitted 
to wear the Red Ensign of Her Majesty's Fleet, with the Canadian Coat of Arms in the 
Fly thereof. 

" We do therefore, by virtue of the power and authority vested in us, hereby warrant 
and authorize the Red Ensign of Her Majesty's Fleet, with the Canadian Coat of Arms 
in the Fly, to be used on board vessels registered in the Dominion. 

" Given under our hands and the seal of the Office of Admiralty, this second day ot 
February, 1892." 


* Governors of Her Majesty's Dominions in foreign parts, and 
governors of all ranks and denominations administering the 
governments of British Colonies and Dependencies shall " as set 
forth in " Queen's Regulations " " fly the Union Jack with the arms 
or badge of the Colony emblazoned in the centre thereof." Figs. 
139 and 141 are iilustrations, the first being the special flag of the 
Viceroy of India, and the second that of the Governor of Western' 
Australia. The Governor-General of Canada has in the centre 
of his flag the arms of the Dominion, while the Lieutenant- 
Governors of Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, 
Manitoba, British Columbia, and Prince Edward's Island have in 
the centre of their flags the arms of their province alone. These 
arms in each case are placed on a shield within a white circle, and 
surrounded by a wreath. The Admiralty requirements are that 
the Colonial badge on the governor's flag should be placed within 
a "green garland," and this is understood to be of laurel; but 
in 1870 Canada received the Imperial sanction to substitute the 
leaves of the maple.* 

Though the provinces that together make the Dominion of 
Canada are seven in number, the Canadian shield only shows 
the arms of four Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Bruns- 
wick an arrangement that can be scarcely palatable to the other 

The Queen's Warrant, published in the Canadian Gazette of 
November 25th, 1869, is as follows : 

"VICTORIA, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of 
Great Britain and Ireland, Queen, Defender of the Faith, &c. 

"To Our Right Trusty and well-beloved Councillor, Edward 
George Fitzalan Howard (commonly called Lord Edward George 
Fitzalan Howard), Deputy to Our Right Trusty and Right entirely 
beloved cousin, Henry Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal and Our 
Hereditary Marshal of England greeting : 

"WHEREAS, by virtue of, and under the authority of an Act 
of Parliament, passed in the Twenty-ninth year of Our Reign, 
entitled ' An Act for the Union of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New 
Brunswick, and the Government thereof," we were empowered 
to declare after a certain day therein appointed, that the said 
Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick should 

* The Maple Is to Canada what the Rose is to England, or the Shamrock to Ireland. 
Hence, we find it on the coinage, etc. In the Canadian Militia List before us we find 
It on the accoutrements of many of the regiments, enwreathing the motto or device.; 
sometimes alone, and often in association with the rose, thistle, and shamrock. 


form one Dominion under the name of Canada. And it was pro- 
vided that on and after the day so appointed, Canada should be 
divided into four Provinces, named, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia 
and New Brunswick ; that the part of the then Province of Canada, 
which formerly constituted the Province of Upper Canada, should 
constitute the Province of Ontario ; and the part which formerly 
constituted the Province of Lower Canada, should constitute the 
Province of Quebec ; and that the Provinces of Nova Scotia and 
New Brunswick should have the same limits as at the passing of 
the said Act. And whereas we did by Our Royal Proclamation, 
bearing date the Twenty-second day of May last, declare, ordain, 
and command that, on and after the first day of July, 1867, the 
said Provinces should form and be one Dominion under the name 
of Canada accordingly. 

" And forasmuch as it is Our Royal will and pleasure that, for 
the greater honour and distinction of the said Provinces, certain 
Armorial Ensigns should be assigned to them, 

" KNOW YE, therefore, that We, of our Princely Grace and 
special favour, have granted and assigned, and by these presents 
do grant and assign the Armorial "Ensigns following, that is 
to say : 


11 Vert, a sprig of three Leaves of Maple slipped, or, on a chief 
Argent the Cross of St. George. 


" Or, on a Fess Gules between two Fleurs de Lis in chief Azure, 
and a Sprig of three Leaves of Maple slipped vert in base, a Lion 
passant guardant or. 


" Or, on a Fess Wavy Azure between three Thistles proper, a 
Salmon Naiant Argent. 


Or, on waves a Lymphad, or Ancient Galley, with oars in action, 
proper, on a chief Gules a Lion passant guardant or, as the same 
are severally depicted in the margin hereof, to be borne for the 
said respective Provinces on Seals, Shields, Banners, Flags, or 
otherwise according to the Laws of Arms. 

" And We are further pleased to declare that the said United 
Provinces of Canada, being one Dominion under the name of 


Canada, shall, upon all occasions that may be required, use a 
common Seal, to be called the ' Great Seal of Canada,' which said 
seal shall be composed of the Arms of the said Four Provinces 
quarterly, all which armorial bearings are set forth in this Our 
Royal Warrant." 

This latter point is a somewhat important one, as owing to the 
semi-official endorsement given in many colonial publications, it 
appears to be a popular misconception that as many different arms 
as possible are to be crowded in. In one example before us five 
are represented, the additional one being Manitoba. In a hand- 
book on the history, production, and natural resources of Canada, 
prepared by the Minister of Agriculture for the Colonial Exhi- 
bition, held in London in 1886, the arms of the seven provinces 
are given separately, grouped around a central shield that includes 
them all. The whole arrangement is styled " Arms of the Do- 
minion and of the Provinces of Canada." 

When the Queen's Warrant was issued in 1869, Ontario, 
Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick were the only members 
of the Confederation. Manitoba entered it in 1870, British 
Columbia in 1871, and Prince Edward Island in 1873. 

The Royal Canadian Yacht Club, the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht 
Squadron, and the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club have the privilege 
of flying the blue ensign. 

Canada, unlike Australia, supplies no contingent towards the 
Imperial Navy, but she has spent on public works over forty 
million pounds sterling. By her great trans-continental railway 
a valuable alternative route to the East is furnished ; she provides 
graving docks at Quebec, Halifax, and Victoria ; trains an annual 
contingent of forty thousand volunteers, supports a military college 
at Kingston, of whose cadets between eighty and ninety are now 
officers in the British Army ; and in many other ways contributes 
to the well-being of the Empire, that Greater Britain, which 
has been not unaptly termed " a World- Venice, with the sea for 

The badges of the various Colonies of the Empire, as shown 
in the official flag-book of the Admiralty, are very diverse in appear- 
ance ; some pleasing and others less charming, perhaps, than fan- 
tastic. It is needless to particularise them all. Some, like those of 
Mauritius, Jamaica, and of Cape Colony (Fig. 127) are heraldic in 
character, while others as Barbadoes, where Britannia rides the 
waves in a chariot drawn by sea-horses, or South Australia, where 
Britannia lands on a rocky shore on which a black man is seated 
are symbolical. Queensland has the simple and pleasing device 
we see in Fig. 128, the Maltese Cross, having a crown at its 
centre. Newfoundland has a crown on a white disc and the 


Latinised name Terra, Nova beneath, and Fiji (Fig. 137) adopts 
a like simple device, the crown and the word Fiji, while New 
Guinea does not get even so far as this, but has the crown, and 
beneath it the letters N. G. The gnu appears as the device of 
Natal ; the black swan (Fig. 141) as the emblem of West Australia. 
An elephant and palm-tree on a yellow ground stand for West 
Africa, and an elephant and temple for Ceylon. British North 
Borneo (Fig. 132), on a yellow disc has a red lion, and Tasmania 
(Fig. 133), on a white ground has the same, though it will be noted 
that the action of the two royal beasts is not quite the same. 
The Straits Settlements have the curious device seen in Fig. 131. 
New Zealand (Fig. 136) has a cross of stars on a blue field. 
Victoria we have already seen in Figs. 134 and 135, while New 
South Wales has upon the white field the Cross of St. George, 
having in the centre one of the lions of England, and on each arm 
a star an arrangement shown in Fig. 138. British East Africa 
has the crown, and beneath it the golden sun shooting forth its 
rays, one of the simplest, most appropriate, and most pleasing of 
all the Colonial devices ; when placed in the centre of the Governor's 
flag it is upon a white disc, and the sun has eight principal rays. 
When for use on the red or blue ensigns, the sun has twelve prin- 
cipal rays, and both golden sun and crown are placed directly upon 
the field of the flag. St. Helena, Trinidad, Bermuda, British 
Guiana, Leeward Isles, Labuan, Bahamas, and Hong Kong all 
have devices in which ships are a leading feature in the Bermuda 
device associated with the great floating dock, in the Hong Kong 
with junks, and in the other cases variously differentiated from 
each other, so that all are quite distinct in character. In the 
device of the Leeward Isles, designed by Sir Benjamin Pine, a large 
puzd-apple is growing in the foreground, and three smaller ones 
away to the right. It is jocularly assumed that the centre one was 
Sir Benjamin himself, and the three subordinate ones his family. 

With Great Britain the command of the ocean is all-important- 
By our sea-power our great Empire has been built up, and by it 
alone can it endure. " A power to which Rome in the height of 
her glory is not to be compared a power which has dotted over 
the surface of the whole globe her possessions and military 
posts, whose morning drum-beat, following the sun, and keeping 
company with the hours, circles the earth with one continuous and 
unbroken strain of the martial airs of England." So spoke Daniel 
Webster in 1834, and our ever-growing responsibilities have greatly 
increased since the more than sixty years when those words were 
uttered. Let us in conclusion turn to the " True Greatness of 
Kingdoms and Estates," written by Bacon, a great and patriotic 
Englishman, where we may read the warning words : 


11 We see the great effects of battles by sea ; the Battle of 
Actium decided the empire of the world ; the Battle of Lepanto 
arrested the greatness of the Turk. 

" There be many examples where sea-fights have been final to 
the war ; but this is when princes or States have set up their rest 
upon the battles ; but this much is certain, that he who commands 
the sea is at great liberty, and may take as much and as little 
of the war as he will, whereas those that be strongest by land are 
many times, nevertheless, in great straits. 

" Surely at this day, with us of Europe, the vantage of strength 
at sea (which is one of the dowries of this kingdom of Great Britain) 
is great ; both because most of the kingdoms of Europe are not 
merely ^inland, but girt with the sea most part of their compass, 
and because the wealth of both Indies seems, in great part, but 
an accessory to the command of the seas." 

We are the sons of the men who won us this goodly heritage, 
and it behoves us in turn to hand it on to our descendants in 
undiminished dignity, a world-wide domain beneath the glorious 
Union Flag that binds all in one great brotherhood. 


The Flag of Columbus Early Settlements in North America the Birth of 
the United States Early Revolutionary and State Flags the Pine-tree Flag 
the Rattle-snake Flag the Stars and Stripes Early Variations of it the Arms 
of Washington Entry of New States into the Union the Eagle the Flag of 
the President Secession of the Southern States State Flags again the Stars 
and Bars the Southern Cross the Birth of the German Empire the Influence 
of War Songs Flags of the Empire Flags of the smaller German States the 
Austro- Hungary Monarchy The Flags of Russia The Crosses of St. Andrew 
and St. George again the Flags of France St. Martin The Oriflamme the 
Fleurs-de-Iys Their Origin the White Cross the White Flag of the Bourbons 
the Tricolor the Red Flag the Flags of Spain of Portugal the Consum- 
mation of Italian Unity the Arms of Savoy the Flags of Italy of the 
Temporal Power of the Papacy the Flag of Denmark its Celestial Origin 
the Flags of Norway and Sweden of Switzerland Cantonal Colours the 
Geneva Convention the Flags of Holland of Belgium of Greece the Crescent 
of Turkey the Tughra the Flags of Roumania, Servia, and Bulgaria Flags 
of Mexico and of the States of Southern and Central America of Japan the 
Rising Sun the Chrysanthemum the Flags of China, Siam, and Corea of 
Sarawak of the Orange Free State, Liberia, Congo State, and the Transvaal 

'TTHE well-known Ensign (Fig. 146) of the United States of 
America is the outcome of many changes ; the last of a long 
series of National, State, and local devices. 

The first flag planted on American ground was borne thither by 
Christopher Columbus, in the year 1497, and bore on its folds the 
arms of Leon and Castile, a flag divided into four and having upon 
it, each twice repeated, the lion of Leon and the Castle of Castile : 
the first red on white, the second white on red. These arms form 
a portion of the present Spanish Standard, and may be seen in the 
upper staff corner in Fig. 194. In this same year 1497 New- 
foundland was discovered, but the first English settlement on the 
mainland was not made until Sir Walter Raleigh took possession of 
a tract of country in 1584, naming it Virginia, after Elizabeth, the 
Virgin-Queen he served, and hoisting the Standard of Her Majesty, 
bearing in its rich blazonry (Fig. 22) the ruddy lions of England 
quartered with the golden lilies of France. The Dutch established 
themselves, in the year 1614, in what is now the State of New 
York; the French, having already founded a colony in Canada 
in 1534, took possession of Louisiana, so called after their King 
Louis, in 1718, while Florida, at first French, became Spanish, and 
in 1763 was ceded to England. 


Three ships, bearing the earliest Pilgrim Fathers from England 
to America, had already sailed from England in the year 1606, and 
these were followed by the historic Mayflower and the Plymouth 
Rock, in 1620. While these exiles for conscience sake established 
for themselves a new England in the west, a colony of Scotchmen 
in the year 1622 took possession of a tract of land which they named 
Nova Scotia. Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, 
Carolina, Pennsylvania, and other colonies were successively 
formed by parties of Englishmen the final outcome of peaceful 
settlement, or the arbitrament of the sword, being that the 
greater part of the eastern seaboard, and the country beyond it, 
came under the sway of the English Crown, until injudicious 
taxation and ill-advised repression led at length to open discon- 
tent and disloyalty, and finally to revolution and the birth of 
the great Republic of the West. 

So long as the Colonists owed allegiance to the British crown, 
one would naturally have taken for granted that they would have 
been found beneath the national flag, but this was not altogether 
the case. In the early days of New England the Puritans strongly 
objected to the red cross on the flag : not from any disloyalty to 
the old country, but from a conscientious objection to the use of a 
symbol which they deemed idolatrous. By the year 1700, though 
the Cross of St. George was still the leading device, the different 
colonies began to employ special devices to distinguish their vessels 
from those of England and of each other.* This, though it indicated 
a certain jealousy and independence amongst the colonies them- 
selves, was no proof of any desire for separation from the old 
country, and even when, later on, the dispute between King and 
Colonists became acute, we find them parting from the old flag 
with great reluctance. Fig. 142 is a very good illustration of this ; 
its date is 1775. 

In the early stages of the Revolution each section adopted a 
flag of its own, and it was only later on, when the desirability of 
union and uniformity became evident, that the necessity for one 
common flag was felt. Thus, the people of Massachusetts ranged 
themselves beneath banners bearing pine trees ; the men of South 
Carolina went in for rattle-snakes; the New Yorkers adopted a 
white flag with a black beaver thereon ; the Rhode Islanders had 
a white flag with a blue anchor upon it ; and, in like manner, each 
contingent adopted its special devioe. 

In Fig. 144, one of the flags of the insurgents at Bunker's Hill, 

* Thus in a French book on flags (La Haye's), published in 1737, we see a "pavilion de 
Nouvelle Anglcterre en Amerique." This is a blue flag, having on a white canton the 
Cross of St. George, and in the first quarter ot this canton a globe, in allusion to America, 
the new world. 


June i7th, 1775, we see that the Cross of St. George is still pre- 
served, and it might well fly in company with Fig. 67, a flag of the 
London Trained Bands, except that in the corner we see the pine 
tree. In Fig. 145 the English emblem has dropped out and the pine 
tree has become much more conspicuous, and in Figs. 147 and 148 
all suggestion of St. George or of the red or blue Ensigns has dis- 
appeared. This arboreal device was not by any means a new one to 
the men of Massachusetts. We find a mint established at Boston as 
early as 1651, busily engaged in coining the silver captured from the 
Spaniards by the Buccaneers. On one side was the date and value 
of the coin, and, on the reverse, a tree in the centre and "In 
Massachusetts" around it. It must be remembered that at the 
time there was no king to resent this encroachment on the royal 
prerogative, and no notice was taken of it by the Parliament or by 
Cromwell. There was a tacit allowance of it afterwards, even by 
Charles II., for more than twenty years. It will be remembered 
that on his enquiry into the matter he was told by some courtier 
that the device was intended for the Royal Oak, and the question 
was allowed to drop. 

South Carolina adopted the rattle-snake flag at the suggestion 
of one Gadsden, a delegate to the General Congress of the South 
Carolina Convention in 1776. On a yellow ground was placed a 
rattlesnake, having thirteen rattles ; the reptile was coiled ready 
to strike, and beneath was the warning motto, " Don't tread on 
me." The number thirteen had reference to the thirteen re 
volted States, as it was originally proposed that this flag should be 
the navy flag for all the States. As an accessory to a portrait of 
Commodore Hopkins, "Commander-in-chiei of the American fleet, 
we see a flag of thirteen alternate red and white stripes. It has 
no canton, but undulating diagonally across the stripes is a rattle- 
snake. The idea was not altogether a new one, as we find the 
Pennsylvania Gazette, in commenting twenty-five years previously 
on the iniquity of the British Government in sending its convicts 
to America, suggesting as a set off" that "a cargo of rattlesnakes 
should be distributed in St. James's Park, Spring Gardens, and other 
places of pleasure." At the commencement of any great struggle 
by a revolting people there is often a great variety of device, and 
it is only after a while that such a multiplicity is found to be a 
danger. Hence we find that prior to the yellow rattlesnake flag, 
South Carolina had, with equal enthusiasm, adopted the blue flag 
with the crescent moon that we have figured in No. 158. :;: 


In the year 1775 a committee was appointed to consider the 
question of a single flag for the thirteen States. This ensign, 
though it went far towards moulding these different sections intc 
the United States, was a curious illustration of that reluctance 
that we have already referred to, to sever themselves finally from 
the Old Country, as the Committee recommended the retention 
of the Union in the upper corner next the staff, but substituted for 
the broad red field of the rest of the flag thirteen horizontally 
disposed stripes, alternately red and white, the emblems of the 
union into one of the thirteen colonies in their struggle against 
oppression. We have this represented in Fig. 57. It was also the 
flag of the East India Company. 

On the final declaration of Independence, when the severance 
from the Old Country was irrevocable, and the colonists became 
a nation, the question of a national flag was one of the points 
awaiting solution ; but it was not till about a year afterwards that a 
decision was come to. The vessels commissioned by Washington 
flew the flag we have figured in No. 147; this was approved in 
April, 1776, and remained in use some little time, as did also 
the one represented in Fig. 149. Sometimes we find the cross 
and pine-tree removed and the whole flag nothing but the red and 
white stripes. This flag composed of stripes alone was not 
peculiar to the American navy, as a flag of similar design was for 
a long time a well-known signal in the British fleet, being that used 
for the red division to form up into line of battle. 

Anyone looking over a collection of the common potter} 7 
made from about a hundred and fifty years ago up to compara- 
tively recent times will find that stirring contemporary events 
are very freely introduced sea-fights, portraits of leading states- 
men, generals, and so forth. These are often caricatures, as, for 
example, the hundreds that may be seen in our various museums 
and private collections derisive of " Boney," while others are as 
historically correct as the potter's knowledge and skill could com- 
pass. Anyone visiting the Corporation Museum at Brighton will 
find a jug bearing the head of Zebulon M. Pike, an American 
general ; trophies of flags are grouped around this, but the only 
flag with any device upon it is a plain striped one. Another that 
bears the head of Commodore Decatur, U.S.N., has below it a 
cannon, on the left a trophy of flags and weapons, and on the right 
a ship ; and a very similar jug may be seen in honour of Com- 
modore Parry. In each of these cases the flags in the trophies and 
on the ships are simply striped. 

On August i4th, 1777, Congress resolved " that the flag of the 
United States be thirteen stripes, alternately red and white, and 
that the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing 


a new constellation."* This was the birth of the national flag, " the 
stars and stripes," and it would appear at first sight to be a final 
settlement of the device, though in practice the result did not 
work out at all uniformly, the number of stripes being unequal. 
If we commence at the top with a white one, we shall have seven 
white and six red, whereas if we begin with a red stripe we shall 
get seven red and six white. Each of these renderings was for 
some years in use, until it was authoritatively laid down that the 
latter was the arrangement to be adopted. It seems a minor point, 
but any of our readers who will re-draw Fig. 146 and transpose the 
colours of the stripes, so that the upper and lower edges of the 
flag are white instead of red, will be surprised to note how so 
apparently trivial a change will affect the appearance of the flag.f 
In like manner the stars were sometimes made with six points, and 
at others with five. Even so late as 1779, we find such a striking 
variation as a flag bearing stars with eight points, and its stripes 
alternately red, blue, and white. The coins issued during the 
presidency of Washington had five-pointed stars on them, but later 
on they had six points. Nobody seems now to know why this 
change was made. 

As nothing was said in this resolution of Congress as to the 
arrangement of the stars on the blue field, a further opening for 
variety of treatment was found. In some of the early flags they 
were arranged to represent the letters U.S., in others they were all 
placed in a circle, in others again they were dispersed irregularly* 
so as the better to suggest a constellation ; and it was finally ordered 
that they should be placed in parallel horizontal rows, as we now 
see them. 

Though the stars did not appear in the American flag until 
1777, we find in a poem in the Massachusetts Spy of March loth, 
1774, on the outbreak of the rebellion, the lines 

The American ensign now sparkles a star 
Which shall shortly flame wide through the skies. " 

* It may be somewhat of an assistance to our readers if we give a few chronological 
details : The obnoxious duty on tea and other articles imposed by the British Parliament, 
June, 1767. Tea thrown overboard in Boston harbour by the discontented populace, 
November, 1773. The Boston Port Bill, by which that port was to be shut up until com- 
pensation made to the East India Company tor the tea destroyed, passed March, 1774. 
General Congress of the colonists at Philadelphia, September, 1774. Revolution, first 
blood shed at Lexington, April, 1775. Washington appointed Commander-in-Chiei of the 
American Armies, June, 1775. Thirteen colonies declare themselves independent, 
July 4th, 1776. Independence of Colonies recognised by France in March, 1778, by Holland 
in April, 1782, and by Great Britain in September, 1783. John Adams received as ambas- 
sador from America by George III. in June, 1785, and first ambassador sent from Great 
Britain to the United States, in 1791. 

t In an old print before us of the fight between the Shannon and the Chesapeake, we see 
that the latter hoists three American flags, all having the top and bottom stripes white, 
and at the foremast a white flag inscribed with the enigmatical motto, " Free Trade and 
Sailors' rights." 


This poetic and prophetic flight is the earliest suggestion of the 
stars in the national flag of the United States. 

It has been held that the American Eagle and the stars and 
stripes of the national flag were suggested by the crest and arms 
of the Washington family. This statement has been often made ; 
hence we find an American patriot writing: "It is not a little 
curious that the poor, worn-out rag of feudalism, as many would 
count it, should have expanded into the bright and ample banner 
that now waves on every sea." But that it should be so seems 
by no means an established fact. No reference is made to it 
in Washington's correspondence, or in that of any of his con- 
temporaries. The arms of the Washington family are a white 
shield having two horizontal red bars, and above these a row of 
three red stars ; and this certainly bears some little resemblance 
to the American flag, but how much is mere coincidence, and 
how much is adaptation it is impossible to say. These arms 
may be seen on a brass in Solgrave Church, Huntingdon- 
shire, on the tomb of Laurence Washington, the last lineal 
ancestor who was buried in England. He was twice Mayor of 
Northampton, in 1533 and in 1546, and the first President of 
the United States was his great-great-grandson. He was a man 
of considerable influence, and on the dissolution of the monas- 
teries Henry gave him the Priory of St. Andrews, Northampton. 
In the troublous times that succeeded, his son John went to 
America, and lived for some twenty years on the banks of the 

Another theory that has been advanced is that the blue quarter 
was taken from the blue banner of the Scotch Covenanters, and was 
therefore significant of the Solemn League and Covenant of the 
United Colonies against oppression, while the stripes were a blending 
of the red colours used in the army with the white flags used in the 
navy. We give the theory for what it is worth, which we venture 
to say is not very much ; but as it was advanced by an American 
writer, we give it place. 

Should our readers care to consider yet another theory, they 
may learn that the genesis of the star-spangled banner was very 
much less prosaic. Prose has it that a Committee of Council, 
accompanied by General Washington, called on Mrs. Ross, an 
upholstress of Arch Street, Philadelphia, and engaged her to make 
a flag from a rough sketch that they brought with them, that she 
in turn suggested one or two practical modifications, and that at 
her wish Washington re-drew it there and then, that she at once 
set to work on it, and in a few hours the first star-spangled flag 
was floating in the breeze ; but the poet ignores the services of Mrs. 
Ross altogether, and declares that 


" When Freedom from her mountain height 
Unfurled her standard to the air, 
She tore the azure robe of Night 
And set the stars of glory there. 
She mingled with its gorgeous dyes 
The milky baldric of the skios, 
And striped its pure celestial white 
With streakings of the morning light : 
Then from his mansion in the sun 
She called her eagle-bearer down 
And gave into his mighty hand 
The symbol of her chosen land." 

This view was expressed by another great American in the 
words : " As at the early dawn the stars shine forth even while it 
grows light, and then, as the sun advances, that light breaks out 
into banks and streaming lines of colour, the glowing red and 
intense light striving together and ribbing the horizon with bars 
effulgent, so on the American flag stars and beams of light shine 
out together. Where this flag comes, and men behold it, they see 
in its sacred emblazoning no ramping lions, and no fierce eagle, 
no embattled castles, or insignia of imperial authority : they see 
the symbols of light : it is the banner of dawn ; it means 
Liberty I " 

We have clearly now got a long way from the establishment in 
Arch Street. This flag, which, after such glowing passages as the 
foregoing, we should almost expect to find too sacred a thing for 
change or criticism, has undergone some few modifications in its 
details, though the original broad idea has remained untouched. 

As the first conception was that each of the original thirteen 
States was represented in the national flag by a star and a stripe, 
other States, as they came into the Union, naturally expected the 
same consideration : hence on the admission of Vermont in 1791, 
and Kentucky in 1792, an Act was passed which increased the 
number of stars and stripes from thirteen to fifteen. Later on 
came Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, and so forth, and the flag was 
presently made to consist of twenty stars and stripes, but it was 
found to be so objectionable to be thus continually altering it that 
it was settled in the year 1818 to go back to the original thirteen 
stripes, but to add a star for each new State. Hence the stripes 
show always the original number of the States at the birth of the 
nation, while the stars show the present number in the Union. 

It is interesting to trace the growth of the country, Illinois 
being enrolled in the Union in 1818, Alabama in 1819, Maine in 
1820, Missouri in 1821, Arkansas in 1836, Michigan in 1837, and so 
on; but suffice it now to say that by 1891 the orlHaa' thirteen had 


grown to forty-four, and it was announced that on and after the 
4th of July of that year the national flag should bear this latter 
number of stars. As there are still several territories awaiting 
promotion to the rank of States, the constellation is even yet 

" A song for our banner I The watchword recall 

Which gave the Republic her station ; 
United we stand, divided we fall, 

It made, and preserves us, a nation ! 
The union of lakes, the union of lands, 

The union of States none can sever ; 
The union of hearts, the union of hands, 

And the flag of our Union for ever." 

The most striking modification of the flag is seen in the Revenue 
Service. We have still the silver stars on the azure field and the 
stripes of alternate red and white, but in this special case the 
stripes, instead of being disposed horizontally, are placed verti- 
cally, a slight enough difference apparently, but one which makes 
a striking alteration in the appearance of the flag. 

The pendant of the United States Navy is shown in Fig. 151 ; 
the stars in it, it will be seen, are reduced to the original thirteen, 
while the narrowness of the flag permits but two of the stripes. 

The American Jack is simply the blue and white portion of 
the National flag, Fig. 146, made into a separate flag. 

The Commodore's broad pendant is a swallow-tailed blue flag, 
with one white star in the centre. The Admiral's flag, hoisted at 
the main, is shown in Fig. 143 ; the Vice-Admiral's flag, hoisted at 
the fore, has three white stars on the blue field ; and the Rear- 
Admiral's flag, hoisted at mizen, has two arranged vertically over 
each other. 

While in some nationalities the flag of the war navy differs from 
that of the mercantile marine as in the case of Great Britain, 
Germany, and Spain in others the same flag is used. This is so 
in the United States, France, etc. 

The Chief of the State, whether he be called Emperor, King, 
President, or Sultan, has his own flag his personal Standard and 
this special and personal flag, in the case of the President of the 
United States, has on its blue field an eagle, bearing on its breast a 
shield with the stars and stripes, and beneath it the national motto, 
" E pluribus unum." As it has been suggested that the employment 
of the eagle as a symbol of the State was derived from the crest of 
Washington, it may not be inopportune to state that the crest in 
question was not an eagle at all, but a raven. The idea of the 
eagle, together with the word " Senate," and many such similar 


things, no doubt arose from their use in ancient Rome, and afforded 
an illustration the more of the pseudo-classicalism that was raging 
in the eighteenth century in France and elsewhere. 

The eagle appears on many of the early flags of America. 
Fig. 150 is a curious example of its use. In an old engraving 
we see a figure of Liberty defended by Washington, and above 
them this flag. In another old print before us we see Washington 
leaning on a cannon, and behind him a flag bearing the stars and 
stripes, plus an eagle, that with outstretched wings fills up much 
of the field, having in his beak a label with the " E pluribus unuin ' 
upon it, with one foot grasping the thunderbolts of War, and the 
other the olive-branch of Peace. 

Both these eagle-bearing flags, it will be seen, are associated 
with the President; but in many of these early examples there 
seems no necessary connection. Thus in one instance we see a 
busy ship-building scene, and while the ship in the foreground has 
at stern the stars and stripes, at the bowsprit it bears a Jack 
that is identical with the blue and white portion of Fig. 150. 

In a Presidential Standard proposed in 1818 the flag is 
quartered. In the first quarter are twenty white stars on a blue 
field ; in the second quarter is the eagle and thunderbolt ; in the 
third a sitting figure emblematic of Liberty ; in the fourth, seven 
red horizontal stripes alternating with six white ones. We found 
the flag figured in an old American book, but are unable to say 
whether such a flag was ever actually made, proposition and 
adoption not being altogether the same thing. 

History repeated itself on the secession from the Union, in the 
year 1860, of North and South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, 
Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Virginia, Texas, Arkansas, and 
Tennessee. There was the same desire at first for individuality 
in the different flags adopted by the seceding States, the same 
unwillingness to break wholly away from the old flag, that we have 
seen as features in the first revolt. 

Louisiana adopted the flag shown in Fig. 156 ; this was em- 
blematic of the origin and history of the State, Louisiana having 
been settled by Louis Quatorze in 1718, ceded to Spain at the 
peace of 1763, restored to France in 1802, sold by France to 
America in 1803, and admitted as a State of the Union in 1812. 
The Spanish Flag, Fig. 192, is red and yellow, hence the golden 
star on the ruddy field, while the stripes of red, white and blue 
are the colours found in the flags of France and America. 

On the election of President Lincoln in November, 1860, South 
Carolina, by vote of Convention, proclaimed her resumption of 
independence as a Sovereign State, and on the i7th of the month 
the new State Flag, having a green Palmetto palm in the centre of a 


field of white, was hoisted in Charleston amidst the ringing of bells, 
a salute of one hundred guns, and every possible sign of public 
rejoicing. In January, 1861, the flag shown in Fig. 155 was substi- 
tuted, the old crescent moon of the first rebellion, 1775, reappearing, 
but in the Charleston Mercury, of January 2gth, 1861, we read that 
" the Legislature last night again altered the design of the State 
Flag. It now consists of a blue field with a white Palmetto palm tree 
in the middle. The white crescent in the upper flagstaff corner 
remains as before, but the horns pointing upwards. This may be 
regarded as final." This flag is shown in Fig. 159. Fig. 160 is the 
flag of Texas" the lone star " State. 

' Hurrah for the Lone Star ! 

Up, up to the mast 
With the honoured old bunting, 

And nail it there fast. 
The ship is in danger, 

And Texans will fight 
'Neath the flag of the Lone Star 

For God and their right." 

When it became necessary, as it almost immediately did, to 
adopt one flag as the common Ensign of all the Confederate States, 
a special committee was appointed to consider the matter, and to 
study the numerous designs submitted to them. On presenting 
their report the Chairman said " A flag should be simple, readily 
made, and capable of being made up in bunting; it should be 
different from the flag of any other country, place, or people : it 
should be significant : it should be readily distinguishable at a 
distance : the colours should be well contrasted and durable : and 
lastly, and not the least important point, it should be effective and 
handsome. The Committee humbly think that the flag which they 
submit combines these requirements. It is very easy to make ; it 
is entirely different from any other national flag. The three colours 
of which it is composed red, white, and blue are the true 
Republican Colours; they are emblematic of the three great virtues 
valour, purity, and truth. Naval men assure us that it can be 
recognised at a great distance. The colours contrast admirably, 
and are lasting. In effect and appearance it must speak for itself." 
The flag, thus highly and justly commended, was first hoisted on 
March 4th, 1861, at Montgomery. It is represented in Fig 152, and 
was quickly known as the " Stars and Bars."* Even the New York 
Herald admitted that " the design of this flag is striking, and it has 

' Forty flags with their silver stars, 
Forty flags with their crimson bars." 

WHITTIER, " Barbara Frietchle." 


the merit of originality as well as of durability." The circle of 
white stars was intended to correspond in number with the States 
in the Confederacy, but no great attention seems to have been paid 
to this. The flag may be seen engraved on the paper money of the 
different Southern States, and on other Government papers. In 
one example before us the stars are seven in number, and in 
another nine are shown, the number of seceding States being 

While the " Stars and Bars," Fig. 152, was quite a different flag 
from Fig. 146, the " Stars and Stripes," it was found that, neverthe- 
less, in the stress of battle confusion arose; so the battle flag, 
Fig. 153, known as the " Southern Cross," became largely adopted, 
though its use was never actually legalised. Here, again, we find 
that though eleven should be the proper number of the stars, they 
are in our illustration thirteen, while in one example we have found 
seventeen. It would be found in practice very difficult to make a 
pleasing arrangement of eleven stars ; given a central one, and two 
on either side of it in the arms of the cross, and we get nine as a 
result, with three on either side it will total to thirteen, and with four 
it must take seventeen. In a few instances it may be seen without 
the red portions a white flag with the blue cross and white stars. 
One great objection to the Southern Cross was that it was not 
adapted for sea service, since being alike in whatever way it was 
looked at, it could not be reversed in case of distress. To obviate 
this difficulty, at a Congress in Richmond in 1863 the form seen in 
Fig. 154 was adopted* a plain white flag having the Southern Cross 
as its Union ; but this, in turn, was objected to as being too much 
like a flag of truce, so to meet this, in the following year, it was 
ordered that the space between the Union and the outer edge of 
the flag should be divided vertically in half, and that the outer half 
should be red: an alteration that may have been necessary, but 
which greatly spoiled the appearance of what was, before this, a 
handsome and striking flag. As the struggle came to an end in the 
following year, the " Stars and Bars " and the " Southern Cross " 
perished in the general downfall of the Southern cause the 
victories of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Shenandoah Valley, 
Chattanooga, and many another hard-fought field, and the brilliant 
strategy of Lee, Beauregard, Longstreet, Jackson, Early, Hood, 
and many another gallant commander, being all in vain against 
the unlimited resources of the North. Over six hundred and fifty 
thousand human lives, over seven hundred millions of pounds 
sterling, were spent in what an American writer delicately calls 
" the late unpleasantness. 

The Americans, jealous of the honour of their flag, have some- 
times, to our insular notions, a rather odd way of showing it. Some 


of our readers will remember how an American, some time ago, 
undertook to carry the flag of his country through England. What- 
ever visions he or his compatriots may have had of his defending 
it gallantly against hostile attack were soon proved to be baseless. 
Englishmen, cela va sans dire, have no hostility to the Americans, 
and the populace urban, suburban, and rural everywhere 
entered into the humour of the thing, and cheered the gallant 
sergeant and his bunting wherever he appeared. All the risk and 
terror of the exploit melted away in general acclamation and hearty 
welcome. An Englishman told us that in descending a mountain 
in Norway he met an American carrying something rolled up ; he 
unfolded it, and displayed the Stars and Stripes, and said that he 
had brought it to plant on the summit of the mountain. Why he 
should do so is by no means apparent : but still, as it pleased him 
and hurt no one else, it would be churlish, indeed, to demur to so 
innocent a pastime. Our friend courteously raised his hat to the 
symbol of the great daughter nation over the ocean, whereupon the 
American heartily reciprocated, saying, " Thanks, stranger ; and 
here's to the Union Jack."* 

When the French declared war against Prussia, on July i6th, 
1870, they were entirely unprepared for the enthusiasm and unity 
with which the various German States rallied together against the 
common opponent. It was thought that the Southern and Catholic 
States would, at least, be neutral, if they did not side with France 
against a Power that, during previous conflict wjth Austria, had 
laid heavy hand on those that had then taken sides against her. But 
this, after all, had been but a quarrel amongst themselves; and the 
attempt of France to violate German soil was at once the signal for 
Germans to stand shoulder to shoulder in one brotherhood against 
the common foe. The separate interests and grievances of Bavarians, 
Saxons, Hessians, Badeners, Brunswickers, Wurtemburgers, Han- 
overians," were at once put aside, and united Germany, in solid 
phalanx, rose in irresistible might. In the great historic Palace of 
Versailles, in the hall dedicated " to all the glories of France," the 
Confederate Princes of Germany, headed by the King of Bavaria, 

* At a banquet at the Mansion House, when many leading Englishmen and eminent 
Colonists gathered together to celebrate St. George's Day, the American Ambassador, 
an honoured guest, said that he was very conscious that he was there at a gathering of 
the clans. " There was a tradition that the mischievous boy was generally the favourite 
of the household. His mother might confess it openly, his father secretly, but the rest of 
the family said nothing about it. Now there was a mischievous boy who broke away 
from home something more than a century ago, but let them not suppose that because he 
left the home he or his descendants ever came back without a strong feeling that it is the 
home." He .went on to say that he never met a body of representative Englishmen, 
British men, speaking the same language that he did, without a sense of grave joy and 
pleasure: the sense that they were his brethren in a great cause, and that he joined with 
them, he and his people, in sustaining the best hopes and aspirations of the world's 
civilization. Blood is thicker than water, and all right-minded Englishmen will read his 
kindly words with pleasure, and give them heartiest reciprocation. 

8 f Hfe FLA6S OF THfe WORLD. 

conferred on the King of Prussia the title of Emperor of Germany, 
bestowing on him the duty of representing all the German 
States in international questions, and appointing him and his 
successors the Commander-in-chief of the German forces. Thus, 
on January lyth, 1871, amid the acclamation of the allied Sovereigns 
and the deep bass of the cannon in the trenches surrounding the 
beleagured capital of the common enemy, the principle of German 
unity received its seal and consummation. 

The War Ensign of the Empire is represented in Fig. 207. The 
colours of Prussia, black and white, and the Prussian Eagle enter 
largely into it, and perhaps it may at first sight appear that these 
symbols of the Prussian State are even a little too conspicuous, but 
it must be borne in mind that it is to the Sovereign of this State 
the headship of all is given, and that the vital interests of Prussia 
in the matter may be further illustrated by the fact that while she 
has a population, in round numbers, of thirty millions, Bavaria has 
but five, and Saxony three, while the Wurtemburgers and Badeners 
between them make up about another three millions, and no other 
State in the Empire comes at all near these figures. Prussia has 
over 130,000 square miles of territory to fight for, while Bavaria has 
but 29,292, and the next largest, Wurtemburg, has only an area of 
7,531 ; in every way, political, commercial, or what not, the 
interests of Prussia are overwhelmingly predominant. 

The flag of West Prussia is the black, white, black, shewn in 
Fig. 211, while the East Prussian flag is made up of but two hori- 
zontal strips, the upper black and the lower white. Hence the 
well-known war song, " Ich bin ein Preussen," * commences, 

" I am a Prussian ! Know ye not my banner ? 

Before me floats my flag of black and while ! 

My fathers died for freedom, 'twas their manner, 

So say those colours floating in your sight." 

* To the Germans, In their campaign against France, this and the " Watch upon the 
Rhine " were worth many battalions as a spur and stimulus to heroic deeds. During the 
American War both Federals and Confederates owed much to the influence of stirring 
patriotic songs. There can be no doubt that the songs of Dibdin contributed not a little 
to our own naval victories, and every cause that is worth fighting for evokes like stirring 
strains. Perhaps one of the most marked illustrations of this is the birth of that grand 
war-song known as the " Marseillaise." Rouget de 1'Isle, its author, was a captain of 
French Engineers stationed in Strassbourg on the opening of the campaign against Austria 
and Prussia in 1792. On the eve of the day that the contingent from that city was going 
to join the main army of the Rhine, a question arose as to what air should be played at 
their departure. Several were suggested and rejected, and Rouget de 1'Isle left the 
meeting and retired to his own quarters, and before the gathering broke up had written 
both words and music of " Le Chant de 1'Armee du Rhin." On returning to the meeting, 
still in consultation on the various details of the morrow, he sang his composition, and it 
was at once welcomed with delight. It flew like wildfire throughout France, and, owing 
to the Marseillaise troops singing it on entering Paris, it derived the name by which it has 
ever since been known. Its stirring words and the grand roll of the music aroused the 
enthusiasm of the country, and at once made it the battle-song of France, to be at timea 
proscribed, but never forgotten. 


The black, white, and red canton in the staff-head corner of 
the flag is also made into an independent flag, as at Fig. 208, 
and used as a "Jack" in the Imperial Navy, while this same flag, 
Fig. 208, minus the cross, is the flag of the Mercantile Marine. 
On the 25th of October, 1867, on the establishment of the North 
German Confederacy, at the conclusion of the Austro- Prussian 
campaign, the King of Prussia sanctioned a proposal for a flag 
common to all. We find in this decree that " the confederate 
flag henceforth solely to bear the qualification of the national flag, 
and as such to be exclusively on board the merchantmen of the 
Confederacy, shall be composed of three equilateral stripes hori- 
zontally arranged : the colour of the top one being black, the 
middle stripe white, and that of the bottom stripe red." On the 
inclusion of the South German States on the formation of the 
German Empire, the latter still more potent and august body 
retained the Confederacy Flag for its mercantile marine. Up to 
the year 1867 no German national flag had ever flown on the 
ocean, as the various States and free cities had their special 
colours of merely local value. 

The responsible Minister of the Crown, in a speech delivered 
in the Diet in 1867, stated to the members that the combination 
of colours was emblematic of a junction of the black-white Prussian 
flag with the red-white ensign of the Hanseatic League. This 
league of the sea-ports of Germany was organised in 1164 for their 
mutual defence and for the interchange of commercial advantages. 
As its strength and reputation increased, many other cities sought 
to be admitted, but international jealousies disintegrated the 
League, and by the year 1630 it was reduced from sixty-six cities 
to three Lubeck, Hamburg, and Bremen. These three Hanse 
towns still retain special privileges. The red and the white in the 
German flag represents the commercial prosperity of the nation, 
while the black and white symbolises the strong arm of the State 
prepared to protect and foster it. The flags of these three cities 
still retain the old colours, Lubeck being half white and half red, 
Bremen red and white stripes, and Hamburg a white castle on 
a red field. 

The arms of the Hohenzollerns are quarterly arranged. The 
first and fourth quarters are themselves quartered, black and white 
for Zollern, while the second and third quarters are azure with a 
golden stag for Sigmaringen. Friedrich VI., the first of the 
Hohenzollerns, the Burggraf of Nurnberg, became Friedrich I., 
Elector of Brandenburg, in 1417. There were twelve in all of these 
Hohenzollern Electors, and Friedrich III., the last of these, 
became in 1701 the first King of Prussia. All the succeeding 
Sovereigns have been of the same house, so that the black and 


white in the flag of to-day is the black and white that for over 
five hundred years has been emblazoned in the arms of the 
H ohenzollerns. 

The cross on the flag (Figs. 207 and 208) the " iron cross" so 
highly prized as the reward of fine service is the cross of the 
Teutonic Order, and dates from the close of the i2th century. 
The history of the Teutonic Order, in its connexion with Prussia, 
is dealt with very fully in the first volume of Carlyle's " Frederick 
the Great." 

The Imperial Standard of Germany has the iron cross, black 
with white border, on a yellow field, in the centre of all being a 
shield bearing the arms of Prussia, surmounted by a crown and sur- 
rounded by the collar of the Order of the Black Eagle. The yellow 
groundwork of the flag is diapered over in each quarter with three 
black eagles and a crown. The arms of the cross stretch out to 
the four edges of the flag. 

The Admiral's flag in the Imperial German Navy is square, and 
consists of the black cross on a white ground the cross, as in the 
standard, extending to the edges of the flag. The Vice-Admiral's 
flag is similar, but has in the upper staff-space a black ball in 
addition, while the Rear- Admiral has the same flag again, but with 
the addition of a black ball in each of the quarters nearest the 
mast. The Chief of the Admiralty has a white flag again with 
the cross in the centre, but in this case there is a considerable 
margin of white all round, and four red anchors are placed so that 
they extend in a sloping direction from the corners of the flag 
towards the inner angles of the cross. We get the characteristic 
black and white again in the burgee of the Imperial Yacht Club, 
which is thus quartered, an upright line meeting a horizontal one 
in the centre of the burgee, and thus giving a first and fourth black 
quarter and a second and third white one. The signal for a pilot 
again is a white flag with a broad border of black ; if our readers 
will take a mourning envelope with a good deep margin of black 
to it, they will see the effect exactly. 

German vessels engaged in trade on the East African coast fly 
the black, white, red, but in the centre of the white stripe is a blue 
anchor placed erect, while the Imperial Governor in East Africa 
substitutes for the anchor the black eagle. The German East 
Africa Company's flag is white cut into quarters by a narrow and 
parallel-edged cross and a red canton with five white stars on it 
in the quarter nearest the masthead. 

While we find amongst the minor States of Germany Olden- 
burg, Fig. 204, with a cross-bearing flag, the greater number are 
made up of stripes disposed horizontally, and either two or three 
in number. Thus Fig. 199 is the white-green of Saxony, Fig. 200 


the black-red-yellow of Waldeck, Fig. 202 the blue-white of 
Pomerania, Fig. 203 the black-red of Wurtemburg, Fig. 205 
the red - yellow - blue of Mecklenburg - Strelitz, Fig. 206 the 
blue-yellow of Brunswick, Fig. 209 the green - white of Saxe- 
Coburg Gotha, Fig. 210 the blue-red-white of Schomberg Lippe, 
Fig. 212 the red-white of Hesse. Others that we have not 
figured are the red-yellow of Baden, the white-blue of Bavaria, 
the yellow-white of Hanover, the yellow-red of Elsass, the 
red-yellow of Lothringen.* To these, others might be added : 
Sleswig-Holstein, Brandenburg, Posen, Silesia, etc., all agreeing 
in the same general character. 

The Imperial Standard of the Austro- Hungarian monarchy is 
yellow, and has in its centre the black double-headed eagle and 
a bordering all round composed of equal-sided triangles turning 
alternately their apices inwards and outwards ; the first of these 
are alternately yellow and white, the second alternately scarlet and 
black. On the displayed wings of the eagle are the arms of the 
eleven provinces of the empire. 

The war-ensign of the monarchy ir, represented in Fig. 213 ; it 
is composed of three equal horizontal bands of red, white, red, and 
bears in its centre beneath the Imperial crown a shield similarly 
divided. This flag originated in 1786, when the Emperor Joseph II. 
decreed its introduction. This shield was the heraldic device of 
the ancient Dukes of Austria, and is known to have been in exist- 
ence in the yeaftr 1191, as Duke Leopold Heldenthum bore these 
arms at that date during the Crusades. 

The "Oesterreich-Ungarische Monarchic," to give it its official 
title, is under the command of one Sovereign, who is both Emperor 
of Austria and King of Hungary, but each of these great States 
has its own Parliament, Ministry, and Administration. Austria 
had long held the Hungarians in most unwilling subjection, and 
the disastrous outcome for Austria of the war with Prussia 
made it absolutely essential to make peace with Hungary, the 
Magyars seeing in the humiliation of Austria the opportunity that 
they had long been awaiting of becoming once again an indepen- 
dent State. A compromise was effected in February, 1867, by 
which the Hungarians were willing to remain under the rule of the 
Emperor of Austria, but only on condition that he submitted to be 
crowned King of Hungary, and that in the dual monarchy thus 

* The book on German costume by Kobel, printed at Frankfort-on-the-Main in 1545., 
should be referred to, if possible, by the reader. It is, unfortunately, a very rare book. 
The first edition of this splendid volume contains 144 large illustrations of standard- 
bearers ; the figures are admirably drawn and very varied in attitude, while the flags they 
carry are replete with interest, many of course being now quite obsolete, while others 
there represented have come down to us through the three centuries in,f~*. 


created they should have absolutely the same rights and freedom 
as the Austrians. The Austrian flag, as we have seen, is red-white- 
red, while the Hungarian is red-white-green, and a commission 
being appointed to consider how these two flags could be blended 
into one, introduced on March 6th, 1869, as the result of its delibe- 
rations, the Austro- Hungarian national flag that we have represented 
in Fig. 214. 

The Austrian provinces have chiefly bi- or tri-color flags, the 
stripes being arranged horizontally. Thus Bohemia is red-white ; 
Tyrol is white-red ; Dalmatia is blue-yellow; Galicia is blue-red; 
Croatia is red-white-blue ; Istria yellow-red-blue. 

We are so used in England to the idea that cheering is a 
spontaneous product that it seems strange to find that the official 
welcome by the Austrian fleet to their Emperor is a salute of 
twenty-one guns, followed by fifteen hurrahs. Each rank has its 
special limit of honour ; thus a minister of State or field-marshal is 
saluted by nineteen guns and eleven hurrahs ; a general by thirteen 
and seven, while a commodore drops to eleven and three ; ambassa- 
dors, archbishops, consuls, all have their definite share of gun- 
powder and such specified amount of shouting as is held to be 
befitting to their position. 

The Imperial Standard of the Czar of all the Russias is the 
brilliant yellow and black flag represented in Fig. 226. The 
introduction of the black two-headed eagle dates back from the 
year 1472, when Ivan the Great married Sophia, a niece of 
Constantine Palaolagus, and thence assumed the arms of the 
Greek Empire. On the breast of the eagle is an escutcheon 
bearing on its red field in silver the figure of St. George slaying 
the dragon, the whole being surrounded by the collar of the Order 
of St. Andrew. On the displayed wings of the eagle are other 
shields, too small for representation in our figure, bearing the arms 
of Kiow, a silver angel on an azure field ; of Novgorod, two black 
bears on a golden shield; of Voldermirz, a golden lion rampant on a 
red shield ; of Kasan, a black wyvern on a silver ground, and so 
forth. The flag of the Czarina is similar, except that it has a broad 
blue bordering to it. 

A new Standard is made for each Czar. It was originally borne 
before him in battle, but this custom has fallen into disuse, and it is 
now deposited with the rest of the regalia. On the heavy gold 
brocade is embroidered the black eagle, and around this the arms of 
the provinces of the Empire. From the eagle that surmounts the 
staff are pendant the blue ribbons of the Order of St. Andrew, 
embroidered in gold, with the dates of the foundation of the Russian 
State in 862, the baptism by St. Vladimir in 986, the union of all 
Russian possessions under the sceptre of John III. in 1497, and the 


proclamation of the Empire by Peter the Great. Its dedication is 
a great religious function, and its sacred character and its appeal 
to a lofty patriotism duly enforced. Thus we find the Imperial 
Chaplain addressing the present Czar before the consecration of the 
standard as follows : 

" Divine Providence has resolved, by the right of succession to 
the Throne, to entrust to thee, as Supreme Head and Autocrat of 
the Peoples of the Empire of all the Russias, this Sacred Banner, 
an emblem of its unity and power. 

" We pray the Heavenly Father for the union of all thy subjects 
in loyalty and devotion to their Throne and Country, and in the 
unselfish fulfilment of their patriotic duties. 

"May this Banner inspire thy enemies with dread, may it be a 
sign to thee of Divine Assistance, and in the name of God, of the 
Orthodox Faith, of Right and of Justice ; may it help thee, in spite of 
all obstacles, to lead thy people to prosperity, greatness, and glory." 

After the Benediction, holy water was sprinkled upon the 
standard, and the Czar, as the embodiment of the Nation, was 
again addressed : 

" The Almighty has been pleased, in the course of the law of 
inheritance, to enthrone you as the Sovereign Ruler of all the 
peoples of the Russian nation ; this sacred Standard is a token 
of unity and power. We pray it may unite all thy subjects in 
unquestioning loyalty to the Throne and Country, and in unselfish 
fulfilment of each duty of a subject. May it be to thee a sign, 
terrible to the foes of Russia, of the help given by the Lord God 
to the glory of His Holy Name, that, through Orthodox Faith, not- 
withstanding all limitations, thy people may be led to prosperity, 
greatness, and glory ; so shall all nations know that God is on 
our side." 

The Russians venerate St. Andrew as their patron Saint, 
believing that it was he who carried the doctrines of Christianity 
into their midst. Origen asserts that he preached in Scythia. 
Peter the Great instituted under his name and protection, in the 
year 1698, the first and most noble order of Knighthood of the 
Russian Empire as a reward for the valour of his officers in the 
war against the Ottomans. The badge is the X-like cross of 
St. Andrew displayed upon the Imperial Eagle and pendant froir 
a broad blue ribbon. We have already seen that St. Andrew is 
the Patron Saint of Scotland also, but in Scotland the cross, 
Fig. 92, is white upon a field of blue, while in Russia, Fig. 217, 
it is blue upon a field of white. This flag, Fig. 217, is the war 
ensign, the flag of the Imperial Navy. 

The creed of the Russian Church extols the worship of Saints, 
and amongst the numerous subjects of veneration St. George takes 


rank next to St. Andrew himself. Hence we see his presentment 
on the Standard of the Czar, and hence Catherine II., in 1762, 
instituted an order of knighthood in his honour. The badge is a 
cross of gold, having in its centre a medallion with a figure of the 
saint slaying the dragon ; the ribbon being yellow and black. St. 
George, we need scarcely remind our readers, is the great warrior- 
Saint of England too, but while we place his scarlet cross, Fig. 91, 
on the field of white, the Russians reverse the arrangement and 
place his white cross on scarlet.* 

Fig. 215 is the Russian Union Jack that combines the crosses of 
St. Andrew and St. George. Fig. 73 is the British Union Jack that 
deals with precisely the same combination. 

The flag of the Russian merchant service is represented in 
Fig. 218. This was originally instead of being white, blue, red, a flag 
of blue, white, red. Peter the Great borrowed this from the Dutch, 
amongst whom he learnt ship-building. The Dutch flag, Fig. 237, it 
will be seen is a tricolor of red, white, blue. Peter simply turned 
this upside down, and afterwards, for greater distinction, charged the 
central white space with a small blue St. Andrew's Cross, as we 
see in Fig. 219, which represents this early form of flag. Later 
on, for still greater clearness of distinction, the blue and the white 
strips changed places, and so we get the modern Russian mer- 
cantile flag, as shown in Fig. 218. It was evidently undesirable 
that the flag of the great Empire of Russia should be the same 
as that of a reversed Dutch ensign a signal of distress and 

Based upon these two simple forms, the government Cross of 
St. Andrew, Fig 217, and the commercial tricolor, Fig. 218, we get 
a great variety of official flags. Thus Fig. 220 is a very happy 
blending of the two forms in the flag of a Consul- General, since he 
is an official of the State, and at the same time his duties 
deal largely with commercial interests ; and much the same ground 
may be taken as regards the blending of the two flags in Fig. 221, 
the flag of a Russian Charg6 d' Affaires. Fig. 223 is the ensign of a 
Russian transport ; if of the second division the field of the flag is 
blue, and if of the third it is red, in each of these cases the crossed 
anchors being white. The Russian signal for a pilot is the Jack 
shown in. Fig. 215, but with a uroad white border to it. 

* The Pamiot Azof, one of the most powerful ironclads of the Russian Navy, flies 
at her mast-head the Cross of St. George (white on red), in memory of the gallant 
service at Navarino in 1527 of her predecessor of that name. The Czar Nicholas decreed 
that all future Pamiot Azofs in the navy should bear this distinguishing mark of honour. 
Peter the Great built the first Pamiot Azof as a memorial of the great siege of Azof, and 
the name has been handed down ever since. The influence of that piece of scarlet and 
white bunting will doubtless be such that no Pamiot Azof will ever fall short of the 
highest expectations that this exceptional honour would suggest. 


A Russian Ambassador or Minister Plenipotentiary flies the flag 
shown in Fig. 222. In the Imperial Navy we find a considerable 
variety of flag types. While the full Admiral flies the Imperial 
Naval Flag, Fig. 217, that of the Vice-Admiral has along its bottom 
edge a horizontal strip of blue, and that of the Rear-Admiral in 
the same position a strip of red. The flag of the Minister of 
Marine is the official flag, Fig. 217, except that instead of the four 
plain white spaces there seen these triangles hold each of them a 
golden anchor, the fluke end outwards. There are many other 
modiiications that we need not here particularise. 

Fig. 216 is the official flag of Poland ; the device in the canton 
in the upper corner, the white eagle on the scarlet field, is the 
ancient Polish flag, when Poland was yet a nation. 

The early history of the French flag is lost in obscurity, 
and it is not always easy to trace the various modifications 
that it has undergone. At the earliest date of which we have 
record we find the kings of the Franks marshalling their forces 
under the plain blue flag known as the Chape de St. Martin. 
Later on the red flag of St. Denis, known as the oriflamme, 
came into use, and was held in great popular esteem, until by 
the tenth century we find it accepted as the national flag, though 
the blue flag still held its ground as a recognised flag. We may, 
in fact, assume that as the Russians placed themselves beneath 
the protection both of St. George and also of St. Andrew, so the 
French felt that a double claim on saintly assistance would be 
by no means amiss. 

The Chape de St. Martin was originally in the keeping of the 
monks of the Abbey of Marmoutiers, and popular belief held it to 
be a portion of the actual blue cloak that the legend affirms the 
Saint divided with the beggar suppliant. The Counts of Anjou 
claimed the right to take this blue flag to battle with them. We 
find it borne by Clovis in the year 507 against Alaric, and again 
by Charlemagne at the battle of Narbonne ; and time after time it 
led the hosts of France to victory. When the kings of France 
transferred the seat of government to Paris, the great local Saint, 
St. Denis, was held in high honour, and the scarlet flag of the 
Abbey Church of St. Denis gradually ousted the blue flag of St. 
Martin, and " St. Denis " became the war-cry of France.* Fig. 179 
is a representation of the oriflamme from some ancient stained 
glass, but ihe authorities differ somewhat ; thus the " Chronique de 
Flandre " describes it as having three points and tassels of green 

" Clisson, assura sa Maiestg du gain de la bataille, le roi lui r^pondit : ' Connestable, 
Dteu le veeulte, nous Irons done avant au nom de Dieu et de Sainct Denis.' " Vtilson 
de la Colombilre. 


silk attached thereto, while an English authority says, "The 
celestial auriflamb, so by the French admired, was but of one 
colour, a square redde banner." Du Cange gives no hint of its 
shape, but affirms that it was simple, " sans portraiture d'autre 
affaire." All therefore that seems quite definite is that it was a 
plain scarlet flag. The last time that the sacred ensign was borne 
to battle was at Agincourt on October 25th, 1415, when it certainly 
failed to justify the confidence of its votaries. 

The precise date when the golden fleurs-de-lys were added to the 
blue flag is open to doubt, but we find the form at a very early date, 
and from the first recognition of heraldic coats of arms this blazon 
was the accepted cognizance of the kings of France. We see this 
represented in Fig. 184. Originally the fleurs-de-lys were powdered, 
as in Fig. 188, over the whole surface, but in the reign of Charles 
V., A.D. 1365, the number was reduced to three.* 

The meaning of the fleur-de-lys has given rise to much contro- 
versy ; some will tell us that it is a lily flower or an iris, while others 
affirm that it is a lance-head. Some authorities see in it an arbitrary 
floral form assumed by King Louis,t and therefore the fleur-de- 
Louis ; while others are so hard put to it that they tell us of a river 
Lys in Flanders that was so notable for its profusion of yellow iris 
that the flower became known as the fleur-de-Lys. The ancient 
chronicles gravely record that they were lilies brought from Para- 
dise by an angel to King Clovis in the year 496, on the eve of a 
great battle fought near Cologne. Clovis made a vow that if he 
were victorious he would embrace the Christian faith, and the angel 
visitant and the celestial gift were a proof that his prayers were 
heard and his vow accepted. As the belief that France was in an 
especial degree under Divine protection was a very flattering one, 
the lilies were held for centuries in great favour ; and the fleur-de-lys 
did not finally disappear from the flag of France until the downfall 
of Louis Philippe in the year 1848, a date within the recollection, 
doubtless, of some of our readers. Finality, indeed, may not even 
yet have been reached in the matter. As the bees of Napoleon I. 
reappeared in the arms of Napoleon III., so the fleur-de-lys may yet 
again appear on the ensigns of France. By virtue of a Napoleonic 
decree in 1852 against factious or treasonable emblems, it was for- 
bidden to introduce the fleur-de-lys in jewellery, tapestry, or any other 
decorative way, lest its introduction might peril the position of a 

* In a miniature of Charles II., A.D. 869, in a book of prayers, the royal sceptre termi- 
nates in a fleur-de-lys. The crown of Hugh Capet, A.D. 957, in St. Denis, is formed of 
fleur-de-lys, as is that of his successor, Robert le Sage, A.D. 996, Henry I., 1031, and 
many others. To make the matter more complicated, we find on the crown of Uffa, first 
king of the East Angles, A. D. 575, true fleurs-de-lys. 

t One old writer asserts that Louis VII., on setting out in the year 1137 for the Crusade 
chose the purple iris flower as bis emblem- 


sovereign who rose to power by lavish bribery, and the free out- 
pouring of blood. Napoleon the First, and at least by contrast 
the Great, when at Auch enquired the reason why many of the 
windows of the cathedral were partially concealed by paper, and 
he was informed that it was because it was feared that he would 
be offended at the sight of certain ancient emblems there repre- 
sented. "What!" he exclaimed, "the fleurs-de-lys ? Uncover 
them this moment. During eight centuries they guided the French 
to glory, as my eagles do now, and they must always be dear to 
France and held in reverence by her true children." 

The white cross frequently appears on the early French flags. 
Fig. 188, the flag of the French Guards in the year 1563, is a good 
example of this. We find Favyn, in a book published in Paris 
in 1620, " Le Theatre d'honneur et de Chevalerie," writing : " Le 
grand estendard de satin bleu celeste en riche broderie de fleurs de 
lys d'or a une grande croix plein de satin blanc, qui est la croix de 
France." Figs. 180 and 181 are taken from a MS. executed in the 
time of Louis XII., A.D. 1498, illustrating a battle scene ; these two 
flags are placed by the side of the fleur-de-lys flag, Fig. 184. 
When Louis XL, in 1479, organised the national infantry we find him 
giving them as the national ensign a scarlet flag with white cross on 
it ; and some two hundred years later we find the various provincial 
levies beneath flags of various designs and colours, but all agreeing 
in having tie white cross as the leading feature. Fig. 182, for 
example, is that of the Solssonois. Desjardins, in his excellent 
book on the French flag,* gives a great many illustrations of these. 
In the Musee d'Artillerie in Paris we find a very valuable col- 
lection of martial equipments from the time of Charlemagne, and 
amongst these a fine series (original where possible, or, failing this 
copies) of the flags of France from the year 1250. 

The Huguenot party in France adopted the white flag, and when 
King Henry III., 1574 to 1589, himself a Protestant, came to the 
throne, the white flag became the royal ensign, and was fully 
adopted in the next reign, that of Henry IV., the first king of the 
house of Bourbon, as the national flag. The whole history of the 
flag prior to the Great Revolution, is somewhat confused, and in 
the year 1669, which we may consider about the middle of the 
Bourbon or white flag period,f we find the order given by the 

* " Recherches sur les Drapeaux Franjais, Oriflamme, banniere de France, Marques 
nationales, Couleurs du roi, drapeaux de 1'armee, pavilions de la Marine." GUSTAVE 
DESJARDINS, Paris, 1874. 

Another good book to see is the " Histoire du drapeau de la Monarchic Francaise," by 
M. Key. 

t It may be helpful here to append for reference the chronology of the earlier 
sovereigns of the House of Bourbon : Henry IV., " the Great," ascended the throne in 
1589; Louis XIII., "the Just," 1610 ; Louis XiV., "the Great," 1643; Louis XV., "the 
Well-beloved," 1715; Louis XVI., 1774, guillotined in January, 1793. 


Minister of the Marine that "the ensigns are to be blue, powdered 
with yellow fleurs-de-lys, with a large white cross in the middle." 
Merchant ships were to wear the same flag as the ships of war 
except that in the canton corner was to be placed the device of 
their province or town. Before the end of the year a new order 
was issued to the effect that " the ensigns at the stern are to be in 
all cases white," while the merchants were to fly the white flag 
with the device of the port in the corner. The white flag was 
sometimes plain, as in Fig. 183, and at other times provided with 
yellow fleurs-de-lys. On the restoration of the Bourbons in 1814, 
after the Republic, Consulate, and Empire, the white flag was again 
the flag of the nation, and remained so until 1830, its last 
appearance in France, unless or until the house of Bourbon again 
arises to the throne, when the restoration of the drapeau blanc 
would probably follow. The white flag has therefore been the 
national ensign of France for over two hundred years. 

In a book in the library of the Science and Art Department, 
South Kensington, we found the flag represented in Fig. 185 figured 
as the French Standard, with Fig. 187 apparently as an alternative, 
while the National flag of France is represented as the tricolor 
with bordering shown in Fig. 189, and the Admiral's flag is given 
as pure white. The book is entitled " A Display of Naval Flags of 
all Nations." It was published in Liverpool ; no date is given, but 
we can arrive approximately at this, as the British Standard is 
represented as including the arms of Hanover; this limits its 
publication to between the years 1714 and 1837. 

The well-known .tricolor of France, Fig. 191, dates from the 
era of the Revolution and came into existence in 1789. It has, with 
the exception of the short Bourbon Restoration, been the flag uf 
France for over a century, and it remains so to this day, though it 
underwent some few modifications ere it settled down to the present 
form. Thus, for instance, on October 24th 1790, it was decreed 
that the colour next the staff was to be red, the central strip white 
and the outer blue, but on February isth, 1794, it was ordered that 
" the flag prescribed by the National Assembly be abolished. The 
national flag shall be formed of the three national colours in equal 
bands placed vertically, the hoist being blue, the centre white, and 
the fly red." On the Revolution of 1848, the provisional government 
ordered on March sth that the colours were to run thus blue, red, 
white, but the opposition to this was so strong that only two days 
later the order was cancelled. In 1790 the tricolor was made the 
Jack, and the ensign was as shown in Fig. 190. This ensign was 
to be common to both the men-of-war and the flags of the merchant 
navy, but the arrangement was not of long continuance. The 
spirit of change that was felt in every department affected the flags 


likewise, and some little time elapsed before the matter was 
satisfactorily settled. 

The arms of Paris are a white galley on a red ground, and 
above this are three golden fleurs-de-lys on a blue band or strip. On 
July i4th, 1789, it was determined that a civic guard of forty 
thousand men should be raised, and that its colours should be 
those of the city, the gules and azure of the groundwork of the 
escutcheon, to which, on the proposal of Lafayette, the white of the 
royal drapeau blanc was added. 

During the first and second Empire the Imperial Standard was 
still the tricolor, but it bore in the centre of the white strip the 
eagle ; and all three strips were richly diapered over with the 
golden bees of the Napoleons. The national flag was the tricolor 
pure and simple, both for the Imperial and the Commercial 
Navy. As the flags of the army were borne on staffs surmounted 
by a golden eagle, the term " eagle " was often applied to these 

On the outbreak of the second Republic in 1848, the people 
immediately on its proclamation demanded the adoption of the 
ill-omened -red flag. Lamartine, the leading member of the 
provisional Government, closed an impassioned address with the 
words: " Citizen^, I will reject even to death this banner of blood, 
and you should repudiate it still more than myself, for this red flag 
you offer us has only made the circuit of the Champs de Mars 
bathed in the blood of the people, while the tricolor has made the 
circuit of the world, with the name, the glory, and the liberty of 
your country." Louis Blanc and other members of the Govern- 
ment were in favour of the red flag, and at last a compromise was 
effected and the tricolor was accepted with the addition of a large 
red rosette. Louis Blanc, not unreasonably, as a Republican, 
pointed out that Lafayette had in 1789 associated the white of the 
Bourbon flag with the red and blue of the arms of the City, and that 
the tricolor flag was therefore the result of a compromise between the 
king and the people, but that in 1848 the king having abdicated, 
and monarchy done away with, there was no reason why any 
suggestion of the kingly power should continue. Doubtless the 
suppression of the flag of the barricades, the symbol of civil strife, 

* Thus, at a grand military fete, on May loth, 1852, in the Champ de Mars, on restoring 
this symbol, we find the Emperor addressing the troops : " The Roman eagle, adopted by 
the Emperor Napoleon at the commencement of this century, was a brilliant symbol of 
the grandeur of France. It disappeared amongst our calamities. It ought to return when 
France, raised up again, should no more repudiate her high position. Soldiers ! Take 
again the eagles which have so often led our fathers to glory." In 1855, in addressing a 
detachment of the Imperial Guard prior to its departure for the Crimea, he exclaimed, 
" The Imperial Guard, the heroic representative of military glory and honour, is here 
before me. Receive then these eagles, which will lead you on to glory. Soon will you 
hare planted them o the walls of Sebastopol ! " 


of anarchy and bloodshed, and the retaining of the tricolor was the 
wiser and more patriotic course, though it required no mean 
amount of courage and strong personal influence to effect the 

The Imperial Eagle, so long a symbol of victory, has now in 
these Republican days* disappeared from the national colours. The 
flag of the French army is now surmounted by a wreath of laurel 
traversed by a golden dart with the letters R.F. and the regi- 
mental number, while on one face of the flag itself is, in the middle. 
the inscription " Republique Fran9aise, Honneur et Patrie," 
each corner being occupied by a golden wreath enclosing the 
number of the regiment. The name of the regiment and its 
"honours" occupy the other side. 

The pendant of the French man-of-war is simply, Fig. 186, the 
tricolor elongated. The Admiral flies a swallow-tailed tricolor, 
while the Rear-Admiral and the Vice-Admiral have flags of the 
ordinary shape, like Fig. 191, except that the former officer has 
two white stars on the blue strip near the top of it, and the latter 
three. Maritime prefects have the three white stars on the blue 
plus two crossed anchors in blue in the centre of the white strip. 
The Governor of a French colony has such a special and dis- 
tinctive flag as Fig. 96 would be if, instead of the Union canton 
on the blue, we placed in similar place the tricolor. There are 
naturally a great many other official flags, but the requirements 
of our space forbid our going into any further description 
of them. 

The war and mercantile flags of Spain have undergone many 
changes, and their early history is very difficult to unravel ; but on 
May z8th, 1785, the flags were adopted that have continued in use 
ever since. Fig. 192 is the flag of the Spanish Navy; it consists, 
as will be seen, of three stripes a central yellow one, and a red one, 
somewhat narrower, above and below. The original proportion 
was that the yellow should be equal in width to the two red ones 
combined. This central stripe is charged, near the hoist, with an 
escutcheon containing the arms of Castile and Leon, and sur- 
mounted by the royal crown. The mercantile flag, Fig. 193, is also 
red and yellow. The yellow stripe in the centre is without the 
escutcheon, and in width it should be equal to one-third of the 
entire depth of the flag, the remaining thirds above and below it 
being divided into two equal strips, the one red and the other 
yellow. This simple striping of the two colours was doubtless 

* First Republic, 1792 to 1799. The Consulata, 1799 to 1804. The first Empire, 
1804 to 1814. The Restoration, Bourbon and Orleanist, 1814 to 1848, the second Republic, 
1848 to 185*, the second Empire, 1853 to 1870, the third Republic from 1870. 


suggested by the arms of Arragon, the vertical red and yellow bars* 
of which may be seen also in the Spanish Royal Standard, Fig. 194. 
Spain, like Italy, has grown into one monarchy by the aggregation 
of minor States. In the year 1031 we have the Union of Navarre 
and Castile; in 1037 we nn( ^ L eon an d Asturias joining this same 
growing kingdom, and in the year 1474 Ferdinand II. of Arragon 
married Isabella of Castile, and thus united nearly the whole of the 
Christian part of Spain into one monarchy. In 1492 this same 
prince added to his dominions Moorish Spain by the conquest of 

Legend hath it that in the year 873 the Carlovingian Prince 
Charles the Bold honoured Geoffrey, Count of Barcelona, by 
dipping his four fingers in the blood from the Count's wounds after 
a battle in which they were allied, and drawing them down the 
Count's golden shield, and that these ruddy bars were then and 
there incorporated in the blazon. Barcelona was shortly afterwards 
merged into the kingdom of Arragon, and its arms were adopted as 
those of that kingdom. Its four upright strips of red, the marks of 
the royal fingers, are just beyond the upper shield in Fig. 194. 

The pendant of the Spanish Navy bears at its broad end a 
golden space in which the arms and crown, as in Fig. 192, are 
placed ; the rest of the streamer is a broad strip of yellow, bordered, 
as in Fig. 192, by two slightly narrower strips of red. 

The Royal Standard of Spain, Fig. 194, is of very elaborate 
character, and many of its bearings are as inappropriate to the 
historic facts of the present day as the retention in the arms of 
Great Britain of the French fleurs-de-lys centuries after all claim to 
its sovereignty had been lost. In the upper left hand part of the 
flag we find quartered the lion of Leon and the castle of Castile. f 
At the point we have marked " C " are the arms of Arragon. " D " 
is the device of Sicily. The red and white stripes at " E" are the 
arms of Austria; we have already encountered these in Fig. 213. 
The flag of ancient Burgundy, oblique stripes of yellow and blue 
within a red border, is placed at " F." The black lion on the 
golden ground at " G " is the heraldic bearing of Flanders, while 
the red eagle " H " is the device of Antwerp. At " I " we have the 

The diary of Henry Machyn, " Citizen and Merchant Tayler of London," from which 
we have already quoted, tells us how the writer saw the " Kyng's grace and dyvers 
Spaneards," the said King being Philip of Spain, riding through the city attired in red 
and yellow, the colours of Spain. In the cavalcade, Machyn tells us, were "men with 
thrumpets in the same colors, and drumes made of ketylles, and baners in the same colors." 

t This quarter of the flag, the arms of Leon and Castile, was the entire flag of the 
time of Columbus. Isabella gave the great explorer a personal flag, a white swallow- 
tailed ensign having in its centre a green cross and the letters F.Y. The quartered arms 
of Leon and Castile are sculptured upon the monument in Westminster Abbey of Alianore, 
the daughter of Ferdinand III., King, of Leon and Castile, and the wife of Edward I. of 
England. The date of the tomb is 1290. 


golden lion of Brabant, and above it at " J " the fleurs-de-lys and 
chequers of ancient Burgundy. The upper small shield contains 
the arms of Portugal, and the lower contains the fleurs-de-lys of 

The Portuguese were an independent nation until Philip II. of 
Spain overran the country, and annexed it in the year 1580 to his 
own dominions, but in the year 1640 they threw off the Spanish 
yoke, which had grown intolerable, and raised John, Duke of 
Braganza, to the throne. The regal power has ever since remained 
in this family. 

The Royal Standard bears on its scarlet field the arms of 
Portugal, surmounted by the regal crown. These arms were 
originally only the white shield with the five smaller escutcheons 
that we see in the centre of the present blazon. Would the scale of 
our illustration (Fig. 195) permit it, each of these small escutcheons 
should bear upon its surface five white circular spots. Portugal 
was invaded by the Moors in the year 713, and the greater part of 
the country was held by them for over three centuries. In the year 
1139 Alphonso I. defeated an alliance of five great Moorish princes 
at the Battle of Ourique, and the five escutcheons in the shield 
represents the five-fold victory, while the five circles placed on each 
escutcheon symbolise the five wounds of the Saviour in whose 
strength he defeated the infidels. The scarlet border with its 
castles was added by Alphonso III., after his marriage in 1252 with 
the daughter of Alphonso the Wise, King of Castile, the arms of 
which province, as we have already seen in discussing the Spanish 
Standard, are a golden castle on a red field. 

In an English poem, written by an eye-witness of the Siege of 
Rouen in the year 1418, we find an interesting reference to the arms 
of Portugal, where we read of 

" The Kyngis herandis and pursiuantis, 
In cotis of armys arryauntis. 
The Englishe a beste, the Frensshe a floure 
Of Portyugale bothe castelle and toure, 
And other cotis of diversitie 
As lordis beren in ther degre."* 

The Portuguese ensign for her vessels of war and also for the 
merchant service bears the shield and crown, but instead of the 

* The following chronological items may prove of assistance. Crown of Navarre 
passes to France, 1276. Ferdinand of Arragon re-conquers Navarre, 1512. Accession of 
House of Austria to throne of Spain, 1516. Spain annexed Netherlands, 1556, and, shortly 
after Philip II., husband of our Queen Mary, annexed Burgundy. Portugal united to 
Spain, 1580. Portugal lost, 1640. Philip V. invades Naples, 1714. Charles III., King of 
the Two Sicilies, succeeds to Spanish crown, 1759. 

t The various heralds and pursuivants in their tabards blazoned with the lions of 
England, the fleurs-de-lys of France, or the castles of Portugal 


scarlet field we find the groundwork of the flag half blue, and half 
white, as shown in Fig. 196. The choice of these special colours, no 
doubt, arose from the arms on the original shield, the five blue 
escutcheons on the white ground. The Portuguese Jack has the 
national arms and royal crown in the centre of a white field, the 
whole being surrounded by the broad border- of blue. 

Italy, for centuries a geographical expression, is now one and 
indivisible. Within the recollection of many of our readers the 
peninsula was composed of the Kingdom of the two Sicilies, the 
Pontifical States, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Duchies of 
Parma and Modena. There was also in the north the Kingdom 
of Sardinia, while Lombardy and Venetia were in the grip of 
Austria. It is somewhat beside our present purpose to go into 
the wonderful story of how Victor Emmanuel of Savoy, aided by 
Cavour, Garibaldi, and many another noble patriot, by diplomacy, 
by lives freely laid down on the Tchernaya, on the fields of Magenta 
and Solferino, by the disaster at Sedan, by bold audacity at one 
time, by patient waiting at another, was finally installed in Rome, 
the Capital of United Italy, as king of a great and free nation of 
over thirty millions of people. Suffice it now to say that this 
Kingdom of Italy, as we now know it, did not achieve until the 
year 1870 this full unity under one flag that had been for centuries 
the dream of patriots who freely shed their blood on the battle- 
field or the scaffold, or perished in the dungeons of Papal Rome, 
or Naples, or Austria for this ideal. 

On the downfall in 1861 of the Bourbon Government in the 
Kingdom of the two Sicilies before the onslaught of the Volunteers 
of Garibaldi, the first National Parliament met in Turin, and pro- 
claimed Victor Emmanuel King of Italy. The title was at once 
acknowledged by Great Britain, and, later on, by the other Powers, 
and the capital of the rising State was transferred to Florence. 
The Papal States were still under the protection of France, " the 
eldest Son of the Church"; and the young Kingdom, unable to wrest 
Rome from the French, had to wait with such patience as it could 
command for the consummation of its hopes. The long-looked -for 
day at last arrived, when amidst the tremendous defeats inflicted in 
1870 by Germany on France, the French garrison in Rome was 
withdrawn, and the Italians, after a short, sharp conflict with the 
Papal troops, entered into possession of the Eternal City, and at 
once made it the Capital of a State at last free throughout its 
length and breadth no longer a geographical expression, but a 
potent factor to be reckoned with and fully recognised. 

Napoleon I. formed Italy into one kingdom in the year 1805, but 
it was ruled by himself and the Viceroy, Eugene Beauharnois, he 
appointed ; and on his overthrow this, like the various other political 

It4 Hfe FLAGS Ofr Tttfe WORLD. 

arrangements he devised, came to nought. The flag he bestowed 
was a tricolor of green, white, and red, his idea being that, while 
giving the new Kingdom a flag of its own, it should indicate by its 
near resemblance to that of France the source to which it owed its 
existence. In 1848, the great revolutionary period, this flag, which 
had passed out of existence on the downfall of Napoleon, was re- 
assumed by the Nationalists of the Peninsula, and accepted by the 
King of Sardinia as the ensign of his own kingdom, and charged 
by him with the arms of Savoy. This tricolor, so charged (see 
Fig. 197) was the flag to which the eyes of all Italian patriots turned, 
and it is to-day the flag of all Italy. The flag we have represented 
is the ensign of the Merchant Service ; the flag of the armed forces 
military and naval, is similar, save that the shield in the centre is 
surmounted by the Royal Crown. The Royal Standard", the personal 
flag of the King, has the arms of Savoy in the centre, on a white 
ground, the whole having a broad bordering of blue. 

This shield of Savoy, the white cross on the red field, was the 
device of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, an order semi- 
religious, semi-military, that owed its origin to the Crusades. In 
the year 1310 the Knights captured Rhodes from the Saracens, 
but being hard pressed by the infidels, Duke Amadeus IV., of 
Savoy, came to the rescue, and the Grand Master of the Order 
conferred upon him the cross that has ever since been borne in 
the arms of Savoy. The Jack or bowsprit flag of the Italian man- 
of-war, Fig. 234, is simply this shield of the Knights of St. John 
squared into suitable flag-like form. 

The Minister of Marine has the tricolor, but on the green portion 
is placed erect a golden anchor. The vessels carrying the Royal 
Mail fly a burgee of green, white, red, having a large white " P" on 
the green ; and there are many other official flags, the insignia of 
various authorities or different departments, but lack of space for- 
bids our dwelling at greater length upon them. 

The war flag of the defunct temporal power of the Pope was 
white, and in its centre stood figures of St. Peter and St. Paul, and 
above them the cross keys and tiara. Fig. 198 was the flag of the 
merchant ships owned by the subjects of the States of the Church. 
The combination of yellow and white is very curious. In the 
banner borne by Godfrey, the Crusader King of Jerusalem, the 
only tinctures introduced were the two metals, gold and silver, 
five golden crosses being placed upon a silver field. This was 
done of deliberate intention that it might be unlike all other devices, 
as it is in all other cases deemed false heraldry to place metal on 
metal. The theory that these metals were selected because of the 
reference in the Psalms to the Holy City, may also be a very 
possible one " Though ye have lien amongst the pots, yet shall ye 


be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with 
yellow gold." However this may be, the yellow and white of the 
arms of Jerusalem was adopted by the Papal Government. 

The Danish flag is the oldest now in existence. In the year 
1219, King Waldemar of Denmark in a critical moment in his 
stormy career, saw, or thought he saw, or said he saw, a cross in 
the sky. He was then leading his troops to battle against the 
Livonian pagans, and he gladly welcomed this answer to his prayers 
for Divine succour, this assurance of celestial aid. This sign from 
Heaven he forthwith adopted 'as the flag of his country, and called 
it the Dannebrog, i.e., the strength of Denmark. As a definite 
chronological fact, apart from all legend, this flag dates from the 
thirteenth century. There was also an Order of Dannebrog insti- 
tated in 1219, in further commemoration and honour of the miracle ; 
and the name is a very popular one in the Danish Royal Navy, one 
man-of-war after another succeeding to the appellation. One of 
these Dannebrogs was blown up by the fire of Nelson's fleet in 1801. 

The Danish Man-of-War Ensign is shown in Fig. 224. The 
Royal Standard, like the Ensign, is swallow-tailed, but in the centre 
of the cross is placed a white square, indicated in our illustration, 
Fig. 224, by dots. This central, square space contains the Royal 
Arms, surrounded by the Collars of the Orders of the Elephant and 
of the Dannebrog. The merchant flag, Fig. 225, is rectangular. 

In the year 1397, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark all formed one 
kingdom under the rule of the latter, but in 1414 the Swedes 
waged with more or less success an arduous struggle for liberty, 
and their independence was definitely acknowledged in the year 
1523. The flag of Sweden is the yellow cross on the blue ground 
shown in Fig. 231. The blue and yellow are the colours of the 
Swedish arms,* and they were then doubtless chosen for the flag 
as the colours of freedom and independence. 

Norway had no separate political existence until the year 1814, 
but in that year the Norwegians seceded from Denmark, and 
declared their independence. Their first flag was still a red flag 
with a white cross on it, and the arms of Norway in the upper 
corner next the flagstaff, but this being found to too closely resemble 
the Danish flag, they substituted for it the device seen in Fig. 230, 
which it will be noted is still the Danish flag, plus the blue cross on 
the white one. The administration of Norway is entirely distinct 
from Sweden, and it retains its own laws, but in 1814 the two 
Kingdoms were united under one Sovereign. As a sign of the union 
there is carried in the upper square, next to the flagstaff in the flage 
of both countries, a union device, a combination of the Swedish 

* At. three crosses in pale or. 


and Norwegian National colours. After considerable dispute, the 
Union Jack shown in Fig. 229 was accepted as the symbol of the 
political relationship of the two nations. It is a very neat arrange- 
ment, for if we look at the upper and lower portions we see the flag 
(Fig. 230) of Norway, if we study the two lateral portions we find 
they are the flag (Fig. 231) of Sweden. Both the Swedish and 
Norwegian war flags are swallow-tailed, and have the outer limb of 
the cross projecting ; we may see this very clearly in Fig. 228, where 
the main body of the flag is Norwegian. The merchant flag is with 
each nationality rectangular ; in Fig. 227 we have the flag of a 
Swedish merchant vessel. Both in the Norwegian and Swedish 
flags, as we may note in Figs. 227 and 228, it will be noticed that 
the Union device is conspicuously present. The Norwegian man- 
of-war flag, Fig. 228, would be that of a Norwegian merchant if 
we cut off the points in the fly ; the Swedish merchant flag, Fig. 
227, would be that of a Swedish man-of-war if instead of the 
straight end we made it swallow-tailed. As Sovereign of Sweden, 
the King places his arms in the centre of the large yellow cross ; 
as Sovereign of Norway, in the centre of the large blue cross ; 
hence we get the Swedish and Norwegian Royal Standards, the 
one for use in the one country, and the other for service in the 
other, the Union device being present in the upper corner in each 
case, and the outer portion of the flags swallow-tailed. The 
Standard is, in fact, the war flag plus the royal arms. The Post 
Service has in the centre of the flag a white square, with a golden 
horn and crown in it ; the Customs flag has a similar white square 
at the junction of the arms of the cross, and in its centre is placed 
a crowned " T." 

Fig. 232, on the same sheet as the flags of Norway and Sweden, 
is the simple and beautiful flag of Switzerland. Like the crosses of 
St. George, St. Andrew, St. Patrick, or that on the flag of Denmark, 
its device has a religious significance. Gautier tells us that : " La 
premiere fois qu'il en est fait mention dans 1'histoire ecrite est dans 
la Chronique du Bearnois Justinger. II dit, apres avoir fait 1'enu- 
m6ration des forces des Suisses quittant Berne pour marcher centre 
1'armde des nobles coalises en 1339 ' Et tous etaient marqu6s au 
signe de la Sainte Croix, une croix blanche dans un 6cusson rouge, 
par la raison que 1'affranchissement de la nation etait pour eux une 
cause aussi sacr6e que la delivrance des lieux saints.' " 

Its twenty-two cantons are united by a Constitution, under one 
President and one flag, but each canton has its own cantonal 
colours. Thus Basel is half black and half white ; St. Gallen, green 
and white ; Geneva, red and yellow ; Aargau, black and blue ; 
Glarus, red, black, and white ; Uri, yellow and black ; Berne, black 
and red; Fribourg, black and white; Lucerne, blue and white; 


Tessin, red and blue ; and so forth. In each case the stripes of 
colour are disposed horizontally, and the one we have each time 
mentioned first is the upper colour. 

Within the walls of the City of Geneva was held, in 1863, an 
International Conference, to consider how far the horrors of war 
could be mitigated by aid to the sick and wounded. This Confer- 
ence proposed that in time of war the neutrality should be fully 
admitted of field and stationary hospitals, and also recognised in 
the most complete manner by the belligerent Powers in the case of 
all officials employed in sanitary work, volunteer nurses, the inhabi- 
tants of the country who shall assist the wounded, and the wounded 
themselves that an identical distinctive sign should be adopted 
for the medical corps of all armies, and that an identical flag should 
be used for all hospitals and ambulances, and for all houses contain- 
ing wounded men. The distinctive mark of all such refuges is a 
white flag with a red cross on^it the flag of Switzerland reversed 
in colouring and all medical stores, carriages, and the like, bear 
the same device upon them ; while the doctors, nurses, and assist- 
ants, have a white armlet with the red cross upon it, the sacred 
badge that proclaims their mission of mercy. In deference to the 
religious feelings of Turkey a red crescent may be substituted for the 
cross in campaigns where that country is one of the belligerents. 
These valuable proposals were confirmed by a treaty in August, 
1864, signed by the representatives of twelve Powers, and known as 
the Geneva Convention. Since then all the civilised Powers in the 
world, with the exception of the United States, have given in their 
adhesion to it. In 1867 an International Conference was held at 
Paris for still further developing and carrying out in a practical 
manner the principles of the Geneva Conference, and another at 
Berlin in 1869 for the same object. One notable feature of these 
two Conferences was the extension of the principles accepted 
for land conflict to naval warfare. 

Holland, as an Independent State, came into existence in the 
year 1579. From 1299 we find the country under the rule of the 
Courts of Hainault, and in 1436 it came into the hands of the Dukes 
of Burgundy, who in turn were subjugated by the Spaniards. The 
tyranny and religious persecution to which the Netherlanders were 
exposed by the Spaniards led to numerous revolts, which at last 
developed into a War of Independence, under William, Prince of 
Orange. The Hollanders adopted as their flag the colours of the 
House of Orange orange, white, and blue. At first there was great 
latitude of treatment, the number of the bars of each colour and 
their order being very variable, but in 1599 it was definitely fixed 
that the flag of the Netherlands was to be orange, white, blue, 
in three horizontal stripes of equal width. How the orange became 


changed to red is very doubtful ; Founder, writing in 1643, we see 
refers to the Dutch flag as a tricolor of red, white, blue. 

Fig. 237 represents the Royal Standard of Holland ; the army 
and navy and commercial flags are similar, except that the Royal 
Arms are not introduced. 

During the general effervescence caused by the French Revo- 
lution, the naval flag of Holland had in the upper staff-corner a 
white canton, charged with a figure of Liberty, but the innovation 
was not at all popular, as the sailors preferred the old tricolor 
under which the great victories of Reuter and Van Tromp were 
gained, and in 1806 it was deemed expedient to revert to it. 

The brilliant scarlet, yellow, and black tricolor represented in 
Fig. 236 is the flag of Belgium. The Standard has, in addition, 
the Royal Arms placed in the centre of the yellow strip. The black, 
yellow, and red, are the colours of the Duchy of Brabant, and these 
were adopted as the national flag in 1831. 

From 1477 onwards we find Belgium under Austrian domination, 
and in 1566 it fell into the hands of Spain. In 1795, and for some 
years following, it was held by France, and in 1814 was handed 
over to the Prince of Orange, but in 1830 the Belgians rose against 
the Hollanders, and before the end of the year their independence 
was acknowledged by the Great Powers, and Leopold of Coburg, in 
the following year, became first King of Belgium. Within a month 
of his accession to the throne, the Dutch recommenced the struggle, 
and it was only in 1839 that a final treaty of peace was signed in 
London between Belgium and Holland, and its claims to inde- 
pendence frankly recognised by the Dutch. 

Greece, originally invaded by the Turks in the year 1350, 
remained for nearly five hundred years under their oppressive yoke, 
rising from time to time against their masters, only to expose their 
country, on the failure of their attempts, to the greater tyranny 
and the most dreadful excesses. Over ten thousand Greeks were 
slaughtered in Cyprus in 1821, while the bombardment of Scio in 
1822, and the horrible massacre on its capture, stand out in lurid 
colours as one of the most atrocious deeds the world has ever 
known : over forty thousand men, women, and children fell by the 
sword. Seven thousand who had fled to the mountains were 
induced to surrender by a promise of amnesty, and these, too, were 
murdered. The towns and villages were fired, and the unfortunate 
inhabitants, hemmed in by the Turks, perished in the flames or fell 
beneath the swords of their relentless foes if they attempted to 
escape. Small wonder, then, that the heart of Europe was stirred, 
and that Lord Byron and thousands more took up the cause of 
Greek independence, by contributions of arms and money, by fiery 
denunciation, and with strong right hand. Missolonghi, Navarino, 


and many another scene of struggle we cannot here dwell upon, 
suffice it to say that at last the victory was won and Greece 
emerged, after a tremendous struggle, from the bondage of the 
Turks, and took its place in Europe as a free and independent 
nation, the Porte acknowledging the inexorable logic of the fait 
accompli on April 25th, 1830. After a short Presidency under one 
of the Greek nobles, Otho of Bavaria was elected King of Greece 
in 1833, and the new Kingdom was fairly launched. 

The Greeks adopted the blue and white, the colours of 
Bavaria, as a delicate compliment to the Prince who accepted 
their invitation to ascend the throne of Greece. The merchant flag 
of Greece is shown in Fig. 233. It will be seen that it consists of 
nine stripes, alternately blue and white, the canton being blue, with 
a white cross in it. The navy flag is similar, except that in addition 
there is placed a golden crown in the centre of the cross. The 
Royal Standard is blue with a white cross ; the arms of the cross 
are not, as in Fig. 233, of equal length, but the one next the staff is 
shorter, as in the Danish flag, Fig. 225. In the open space at the 
crossing of the arms is placed the Royal Arms. 

The Turkish Empire has undergone many changes and vicissi- 
tudes, and has in these latter days shrunk considerably. European 
Turkey now consists of about seventy thousand square miles, while 
Turkey in Asia, Syria, Asia Minor, Palestine, Armenia, etc., is over 
seven hundred thousand.* 

The crescent moon and star, Figs. 239 and 240, were adopted 
by the Turks as their device on the capture of Constantinople by 
Mahomet II., in 1453. They were originally the symbol of Diana, 
the Patroness of Byzantium, and were adopted by the Ottomans as 
a badge of triumph. Prior to that event, the crescent was a very 
common charge in the armorial bearings of English Knights, but it 
fell into considerable disuse when it became the special device of 
the Mohamedans, though even so late as the year 1464 we find 
Ren6, Duke of Anjou, founding an Order of Knighthood having as 
its badge the crescent moon, encircled by a motto signifying 
" praise by increasing." Though the crescent was, as we have seen, 
originally a Pagan symbol, it remained throughout the rise and 
development of the Greek Church the special mark of Constanti- 
nople, and even now in Moscow and other Russian cities the 

* The Turks, originally an Asiatic people, overran the provinces of the Eastern, or 
Greek Empire, about the year 1300, but did notlcapture Constantinople until 1453. Thirty 
years afterwards they obtained a footing in Italy, and in 1516 Egypt was added to the 
Empire. The invading hosts spread terror throughout Europe, and in 1529 and in 1683 
we find them besieging Vienna. Rhodes was captured from the Knights of St. John, 
Greece subdued, Cyprus taken from the Venetians : but later on the tide of war turned 
against them, and frequent hostilities with England, France, and Russia led to the gradual 
weakening of the Turkish power. 


crescent and the cross may be seen combined on the churches, the 
object being to indicate the Byzantine origin of the Russian Church. 
The crescent may be seen on the coins and medals of Augustus, 
Trajan, and other Emperors. The origin of the symbol was as 
follows : Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, meeting with 
many unforeseen difficulties in carrying on the siege of the city, set 
the soldiers to work one dark night to undermine the walls, but 
the crescent moon appearing the design was discovered and the 
scheme miscarried ; and in acknowledgment the Byzantines erected 
a statue to Diana, and made the crescent moon the attribute of 
the Goddess the symbol of their city. 

The War Flag of Turkey is the crescent and star on the scarlet 
field, as shown in Fig. 239. The flag of the Merchant Service seems 
less definitely fixed. In the Official Flag Book* of the English 
Admiralty, Fig. 239 is given as both the man-of-war flag and the 
merchant flag for Turkey, Egypt, and Tripoli, while in an excellent 
book on the subject, published at Vienna in 1883, Fig. 235 is given 
as the flag of the commercial marine ; and we have also seen a plain 
red flag with a star in the upper corner of the hoist, and another 
divided into three horizontal bands, the upper and lower being red, 
and the central one green. 

The Military and Naval Sendee of Tunis has the flag represented 
in Fig. 240, while the Tunisian commercial flag is simply, red, 
without device of any kind. 

In a map bearing the date 1502 the Turkish Dominions are 
marked by a scarlet flag having three points and bearing three 
black crescents, while in a sheet of flags with the comparatively 
modern date of 1735, "Turk "is represented by a blue flag with 
three crescents in white upon it. 

The personal flag of the Sultan, corresponding to our Royal 
Standard, is scarlet, and bears in its centre the device of the 
reigning sovereign : hence it undergoes a change at each accession 
to the throne. This device, known as the Tughra, is placed on the 
coinage, postal stamps, etc.. as well as on the Royal Flag, and consists 
of the name of the Sultan, the title Khan, and the epithet El muxaffar 
daima, signifying the ever-victorious. The history of the Tughra is 
curious : When Sultan Murad I. entered into a treaty of peace with 
the Ragusans, he was not sufficiently scholarly to be able to affix 

* There is such a general impression that officials are so very much bound up in highly- 
starched red tape that we gladly take this opportunity of acknowledging the extreme 
consideration with which all our enquiries have been met. The libraries of the Admiralty, 
the Royal United Service Museum, the Guildhall, South Kensington, etc., have been 
placed unreservedly at our service. The authorities of the Board of Trade, of Lloyds, 
of the Royal Chelsea Hospital, of the Royal Naval Exhibition, the Agents-General of the 
Colonies, have all most willingly given every possibH information, and we have received 
from all to whom we have applied for information the greatest readiness to afford it, and 
the most courteous respons., 


his signature to the document, so he wetted his open hand with ink 
and pressed it on the paper, the first, second, and third fingers 
making smears in fairly close proximity, while the thumb and 
fourth finger were apart on either side. Within the mark thus 
made, the Ottoman Scribes wrote the name of Murad, his title, 
and the epithet that bore testimony to his ever-victorious career. 
The Tughra remains the symbol of this, the three upright forms 
being the three fingers of Murad, the rounded line to the left the 
thumb, and the line to the right the little finger; these leading 
forms do not vary, but the smaller characters change with the 
change of sovereign. This Murad, sometimes called Amurath, 
ascended the throne in the year 1362.* 

The personal flag of the Khedive of Egypt is green, and has in 
its centre the crescent and three white stars. 

By the Treaty of Berlin, July 1878, the provinces of Moldavia and 
Wallachia, formerly a portion of the Turkish Empire, and the 
territory of the Dobrudscha, were recognised as an independent 
State, and were formed into the kingdom "of Roumania somewhat 
later, the sovereign who had previously held the rank of prince 
being crowned king in March, 1881. The flag of Roumania is the 
brilliant blue, yellow and red tricolor shown in Fig. 242. 

The flag of Servia, another small kingdom of Eastern Europe, is 
shown in Fig. 243 ; the royal standard is similar, except that the 
arms are placed in the centre of the blue stripe. It will be seen that 
the flag of Servia is that of Russia, Fig. 218, reversed. By the Berlin 
Treaty of 1878, Servia received a large increase of territory, and was 
created an independent State, its princely ruler being crowned king 
in March, 1882. 

The State of Bulgaria is another of the creations of the Berlin 
Treaty. It is governed by a prince who is nominally under the 
suzerainty of Turkey. Its war flag is shown in Fig. 241 ; the 
mercantile flag has no leonine canton, but is simply a tricolor of 
white, green, and red. 

Having already dealt with the United States, we propose now to 
turn our attention to the other Governments of the New World. 
The simple and effective ensign of Chili is represented in Fig. 161. 
This flag is used both by the Chilian men-of-war and by the vessels 
of the mercantile marine. Fig. 157 is so much of the pendant of a 
man-of-war as the limits of our page will permit. The Chilian Jack 
is the blue canton and white star of Fig. 161, treated as a distinct 

* The position of Sultan, though one of great dignity, has its serious drawbacks. 
This all-conquering Murad was, after all, assassinated ; his son and successor, Bajuzet, 
died in prison. Isa Belis the next holder of the throne, Solyman who succeeded 
him, and Musa, who succeeded Solyman, were all in turn murdered by their brothers 
Or other relatives. 


flag, and the flags of the various naval ranks are also blue with a 
varying number of white stars. 

Fig. 164 is the merchant flag of New Granada; the Govern- 
ment ensign has in addition the shield ot arms in the centre of the 
blue stripe. It will be observed that the colours in this tricolor are 
the same as those of Roumania, Fig. 242, only differently disposed. 
New Granada is composed of nine small States, and in 1863 these 
bound themselves into a closer confederation, and changed their 
collective name from New Granada to that of the United 
States of Colombia, and adopted a tricolor of yellow, blue, and red, 
only disposed horizontally instead of'as in Fig. 164, vertically. This 
sounds identical with the flag of Venezuela, but in the centre of 
the Colombian flag is placed a different device, and the yellow 
stripe takes up half the space, the other two being only half its width. 
Fig. 165 is the flag of Uruguay, a State that was formerly a province 
of Brazil, but declared its independence in the year 1825. The 
next flag on our plate, Fig. 166, is the war ensign of Guatemala ; 
the shield in the centre bears a scroll with the words ".Libertad 15 
de Setiembre, 1821," surmounted by a parrot, surrounded by a 
wreath, and having behind it crossed rifles and swords. The 
merchant flag is the plain blue, white, blue, without the shield. In 
the year 1525 the country was conquered by Don Pedro de 
Alvarado, one of the companions of Cortes, and it remained subject 
to Spain until 1821, when it gained its independence, the 
" Libertad " of the scroll. It then went in vigorously for several 
years of civil war, and the outcome of this was that the country 
known under Spanish rule as Guatemala, a country embracing all 
Central America, split up in 1839 into five Republics, all absolutely 
independent of each other, viz., Guatemala, San Salvador, 
Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. 

The next flag, Fig. 167, is the ensign of Costa Rica : the one 
represented is that of the Merchant Service. The war ensign differs 
from it in having in the centre the arms of the State, surrounded on 
either side by a trophy of three flags, and beneath all a wreath. 
Fig. 168, the flag of Paraguay, is very suggestive of the colours of 
Holland, though the device in the centre serves to differentiate it. 
Paraguay is the only State in America that has no sea-board, and 
therefore no Mercantile Marine. 

Brazil, discovered by the Portuguese in 1500, remained in their 
possession until a revolutionary struggle in the year 1821 ended 
in favour of the Brazilians, when an Empire was shortly after- 
wards established. Compared to the other States of South America, 
it has passed through long periods of rest and prosperity, but of 
late years its political position has been one of considerable 
uncertainty, the Emperor having been dismissed and the rival 


ambitions for the Presidentship leading to civil war. These political 
changes have necessarily produced modifications in the flag. The 
present flag, Fig. 169, is not altogether unlike that of the late 
Empire, though in this latter case the yellow diamond on the green 
ground held a shield and Imperial crown, flanked by sprays of 
coffee and tobacco. In the present flag this yellow diamond has 
a blue sphere spotted over with stars and a white band running 
across it, that bears in blue letters the legend Ordem e progressed 
Fig. 173 is the upper portion of the man-of-war pendant, a blue 
ground with white stars. Fig. 169 is the ensign, both of the War 
and Merchant Navy of Brazil. 

The yellow, blue, and red tricolor, Fig. 170, is the merchant 
ensign of Venezuela ; the war flag has the same stripes, and in 
addition the shield of the arms of the State is placed on the yellow 
band at the staff corner. When the Spaniards arrived off the coast 
in the year 1499, they found on landing that some of the native 
Indians were living in huts built on piles, hence they called the 
country Venezuela, or little Venice. 

Bolivia, formerly comprised in the Spanish Vice- Royalty of 
Colombia, derives its present name from Simon Bolivar, the leader 
of the revolution that gained it its freedom. Its commercial flag is 
shown in Fig. 171 ; the war flag only differs in having the arms of 
the State placed in the centre of the red strip. 

The familiar green, white, red of Italy is repeated in the 
flag of Mexico, but instead of the cross of Savoy, we have the 
eagle and serpent. The Mexican merchant ensign is the plain 
tricolor of green, white, red, the central device we see in 
Fig. 172 marking it as the war flag. Mexico was discovered in 
1518, and conquered, with infamous cruelties, by Cortes. After a 
lengthened revolutionary struggle, the yoke of Spain was finally 
thrown off in 1829, an< 3 the independence of Mexico was recognised 
by all the great European Powers. 

Peru was discovered by the Spaniards in 1513, and was soon 
afterwards, under the command of Pizarro, added to the dominions 
of the King of Spain. Peru remained in subjection to the Spaniards 
(who murdered the Incas and all their descendants, and committed 
the most frightful cruelties) until 1826, when the independence of 
the country, after a prolonged struggle, was completely achieved. 
The Peruvian war ensign is given in Fig. 174, the merchant flag 
being the plain red, white, red. 

San Salvador, the smallest of the Central American Republics, 

* " Order and progress." Not a very happily chosen motto, since, as a Brazilian 
said to us, such a sentiment might equally be placed on the flags of all civilized nations, 
order and progress not being features to take any special credit for, but to be enU'ely 
taken for granted, and as a matter of course, 


established itself in 1839, on the break-up of the Spanish State 
of Guatemala. Its flag is shown in Fig. 175. 

The country now held by the Argentine Republic was discovered 
in 1517, and settled by the Spaniards in 1553. The war ensign is 
represented in Fig. 176 ; the merchant ensign has the three stripes, 
but the golden sun is missing. 

The Government of Ecuador has Fig. 177 as its war flag, the 
merchant ensign being without the ring of white stars. The last flag 
on the sheet (Fig. 178) is the merchant flag of Haiti ; the Govern- 
ment flag has the blue and red reduced to a broad border, the 
central portion of the flag being white. In the centre of this white 
portion stands a palm tree, and below it a trophy of arms and flags, 
flanked on either side by a cannon. 

The flag of the Cuban national forces in conflict with Spain 
has at the hoist a triangular portion of blue, one side of this 
triangle being the depth of the flag itself, and on this blue field is 
a white, five-pointed star. The rest of the flag is made up of the 
following horizontal and equal stripes red, white, red, white, red. 

Japan known to the Japanese as Niphon, derived from Nitsu, 
Sun, and Phon, the rising the Land of the Rising Sun,* has adopted 
this rising sun as its emblem. Japan claims to possess a written 
history of over 2,500 years, but the fairly authentic portion begins 
with the year 660 B.C., when the present hereditary succession of 
rulers commenced. English merchants visited Japan in 1612, and 
the Portuguese almost a century before. By 1587 the converts of 
the Portuguese Jesuit Missions numbered some six hundred 
thousand. At this time some Spanish Franciscans appeared on the 
scene, and political and religious discord soon followed. The 
Japanese ruler took alarm at the Papal claim to universal 
sovereignty, and the Buddhist Priesthood and the English and 
Dutch Protestant traders fanned the flame of suspicion and jealousy. 
This was done so effectually that the Japanese Government banished 
all foreigners, and closed the country against them. This state of 
things lasted for over two centuries, and it was only in the year 
1853 that Japan was re-opened to the outside world. The flag of 
Japan, the rising sun, is represented in Fig. 244. The red ball 
without the rays is used as a Jack, in which case it is placed in the 
centre of the white field. Fig. 245 is the Standard of the Emperor. 
The chrysanthemum is the emblem of Japan, and its golden flower, 
somewhat conventionally rendered it must be admitted, is the form 
we see introduced in Fig. 245.! Figs. 246 and 248 are the transport 
flag and the guard flag respectively of the Japanese war marine. 

* Our English name, Japan, for this land of the Far East, is a corruption of the 
Chinese name for it, Zipangn, a word of the same meaning, Land of the Rising Sun. 

+ There are four Orders of Distinction in Japan ; the first is the Order of the 
Chrysanthemum, and the second that of the Rising Sun. 


The Imperial Standard of China is yellow with a blue dragon. 
The official flag book of the Admiralty gives the flag of a Chinese 
Admiral as made up of the following horizontal stripes: yellow, 
white, black, green, red, a blue dragon on a white ground being the 
canton in the staff-head corner. The merchant ensign is shown in 
Fig. 247. Amongst the Chinese flags captured in 1841, and pre- 
served in the Royal United Service Institution, is one with a blue 
centre with an inscription in white upon it, and with a broad 
notched border of white ; another has its centre of a pale blue and 
a darker blue dragon upon it, the whole being surrounded by a 
broad and deeply-notched border of red. 

The flag of Siam is scarlet with a white elephant thereon. 
Before Xacca, the founder of the nation, was born his mother 
dreamt that she brought forth a white elephant, and the Brahmins 
affirm that Xacca, after a metempsychosis of eighty thousand 
changes, concluded his very varied experiences as this white ele- 
phant, and thence was received into the company of the Celestial 
Deities. On this account the white elephant is held a sacred beast, 
and the Siamese rejoice to place themselves beneath so potent a 
protector. The flag of Korea bears the tiger. In the thickly, 
wooded glens of the interior, the royal tiger is found in formidable 

The flag of Sarawak, a territory of some forty thousand square 
miles, on the north-west of Borneo, is shown in Fig. 252. The 
Government was obtained in 1842 from the Sultan of Borneo by an 
Englishman, Sir James Brooke, and it is still ruled by one of the 
family, a nephew of the first Rajah. 

In Africa, the only flags that we need particularize are those of 
the Orange Free State, Liberia, the Congo State, and the South 
African Republic. 

The Orange Free State was founded by Dutch emigrants from 
the Cape of Good Hope. It was proclaimed British territory in 
1848, but by a Convention entered into in 1854, the inhabitants were 
declared to be " to all intents and purposes, a free and independent 
people, and their Government to be treated thenceforth as a free 
and independent Government." The flag, Fig. 249, is the only 
one that has orange in it, clearly in allusion to the name of the 
State, while the canton of red, white, and blue, equally shows the 
pride of the people in their Dutch origin. 

The flag of the Independent Negro Republic of Liberia, is shown 
in Fig. 250. The population largely consists of freed slaves, 
emigrants from America and their descendants, plus the aborigines. 
The flag, it will be seen, even to the thirteen stripes, is largely based 
on that of the United States, though one would have thought that 
that would have been about the last thing they would have selected. 


The Congo Free State in Central Africa was established in 1885 
by the King of the Belgians; its flag is the golden star on the 
blue ground that we see in Fig. 251, a device at once simple, 
expressive and pleasing. 

In 1840, a number of Dutch Boers, dissatisfied with the Govern- 
ment of Cape Colony, established themselves in Natal, where their 
treatment of the natives was so unjustifiable that a general rising 
was imminent, and the British Government was compelled to 
interfere, and itself take charge of the district. This the Boers 
resented, so they crossed the Vaal and established themselves 
afresh in the wilderness. In 1854, the British Government recognised 
the Transvaal or South African Republic, and in 1881 a fresh 
Convention was agreed to by which the Boers were confirmed in 
full possession of the land, subject to the recognition of the British 
suzerainty. The flag of the Transvaal Government is shown in 
Fig. 253- 

Now have we journeyed the whole world over and found in 
every land the emblems of nationality and patriotism. Un- 
familiar as many of these may appear to us, they each represent 
a symbol endeared to thousands or hundreds of thousands of 
hearts, and thus are they full of warm human interest. For these 
various strips of gaily-coloured bunting, men have given without 
hesitation their lives, have poured out blood and treasure without 
stint or count of cost, and wherever they encounter them the wide 
world over, the wanderers forget for a while the alien shore or 
waste of ocean as their thoughts turns to the dear homeland. 


Flags as a Means of Signalling Army Signalling -the Morse Alphabet- 
Navy Signalling First Attempts at Sea Signals Old Signal Books in Library of 
Royal United Service Institution" England expects that every man will do his 
duty "Sinking Signal Codes on defeat Present System of Signalling in Royal 
Navy Pilot Signals Weather Signalling by Flags the International Signal 
Code First Published in 1857 Seventy-eight Thousand different Signals 
possible Why no Vowels used Lloyd's Signal Stations. 

"\ 1 7"E propose in this, our final chapter, to deal with the use of 
* ^ flags as a means of signalling ; a branch of the subject by no 
means wanting either in interest or in practical value. 

The flags used for army signalling are only two in number if we 
consider their design, though, as each of these is made in two sizes, 
the actual outfit consists of four flags. The large size is three feet 
square, and the smaller is two feet square ; the larger sizes are 
clearly more visible, but on the other hand the smaller save weight 
and consequently labour; and with good manipulation and clear 
weather their messages can be followed by observers, with ordinary 
service telescopes, up to a distance of twelve miles or so. The 
poles are respectively five feet six inches long and three feet six 
inches, and the flags themselves are either white with a blue 
horizontal stripe across the centre, or wholly blue. Only one flag 
is used at a time, the first being used when the background is dark 
and the second when light, so as to ensure under all circumstances 
the greatest visibility. 

The person sending the signals should hold the flag pointing 
upwards to the left, and with the pole making an angle of about 25, 
with an imaginary vertical line passing down the centre of his body. 
The signals are based upon the dot and dash system of Morse. The 
dot or short stroke is made by waving the flag from the normal 
position to the corresponding point on the right hand, while for the 
dash or long stroke the flag is waved till the head of the pole nearly 
touches the ground. 

The Morse alphabet is so constructed that the letters of most 
frequent occurrence are represented by the shortest symbols, and 
no letter requires more than four of these for its expression, while 
figures are all represented by five signs. 



The letters of the alphabet are thus represented : 

F . . 

G . 

H . .. . 

I . 

K _ . 

L . _ . . 


N _ . 


O (oe) 

P . . 


R . . 

S . . . 

T _ 
U . . _ 

U (ue) 

v . . . _ 

w . 

x_ . . _ 

Y . 

2 . . 


The following code is adopted to represent figures : 

1 . 

2 . . 1_ 




A space about equal in length to the dash is left between 
each letter, and a time interval of about three times the duration 
between each word. This alphabet, once learned, it is evident can 
be utilized in many ways. Steamers, by means of short and long 
whistles, can spell out messages to each other ; seamen, across a 
harbour, can communicate by waving their arms ; prisoners by 
opening and shutting their hands. It is also utilised in the light- 
flashes of the heliograph, in telegraphy again, and in various 
other directions. 

Classes are held at the School of Army Signalling at Aldershot, 
and from thence the knowledge permeates the Army and the Auxiliary 
Forces.* The requirements are steadiness, intelligence, quickness 
of eye-sight and of action, and the power to spell correctly ; and it 
takes a man from fifteen to twenty days, at five hours drill a day, to 
learn the alphabet and the proper manipulation of the flags. The 
standard of efficiency is ten words a minute with the large flag or 
sixteen with the small. If our readers will take the trouble to count 
the letters in the first sixteen words in this present sentence they 

* Each spring and summer our Volunteers have long-distance practices. From the 
account of one of these now before us, we see that the line extended from Reculvers on 
the north coast of Kent, to Aldershot, a distance of over one hundred miles, messages from 
one point to the other being rapidly and accurately transmitted by signalling parties on 
the various eminences, such as Beacon Hill, Gravelly Hill, Box Hill, and St. Martha's 
Hill, between the two extremities of the line. 


will find that they are sixty -nine in number, and they will further find, 
if they take the additional trouble to translate these letters into 
Morse, that it will take 105 dots and 60 dashes to do it. Our 
readers will probably then go on to conclude that as it takes one 
hundred and sixty-five motions of the flag, plus sixty-eight intervals 
between the letters to signal these sixteen words, a speed of ten 
words a minute is a very creditable performance either for the 
sender to work off or for the receiver to read. 

Besides the ordinary spelling out of the words, various arbitrary 

signs are used, thus a continued succession of dots is 

used to call attention to the fact that a message is going to be sent, 

and a series of dashes means that it is finished. 

G means " go on," R is a request to " move more to the right " and 
L to " shift a little to the left " ; B means " use the blue flag," and W 
" use the white flag," K.Q is "say when you are ready," F.I means 
that figures are coming, and F.F indicates fhat the figures are 
finished. Those who have to receive the message may see that 
the background behind the transmitter is not quite satisfactory 
for the due observation of the flags, and they may then flash back 
H or O, meaning either " higher up " or " lower down," as the case 
may be, and in case of any misunderstanding, they will signal I.M.I, 
which means "please repeat," and as soon as all is clear, they will 
signal R.T, meaning " all right." 

As our man-of-war's-men are also instructed in this system of 
signalling, communication can be established during an expedition 
between the ships and the troops on shore. The signal for com- 
munication is a white pendant with two black X.X on it. Should 

this special flag not be forthcoming, the X.X . . . . (see code 

of letters) is flashed at night or waved by the flag by day, and as 

soon as the preparative dots have been acknowledged, 

the message is dispatched. When the message is of a general 
character, nothing more need be done, but when it is intended for a 
particular vessel, the communication is preceded by the special 
sign apportioned to that vessel. 

Though the Morse system has its place, as we have seen, in the 
drill of our blue-jackets, it does not altogether meet naval require- 
ments. A man waving flags on board ship would be a scarcely 
conspicuous enough object, and intermediate vessels in a squadron 
would block out all view of him from those farthest off, hence naval 
communications are ordinarily made by means of flags exhibited 
from the mast head or other clearly visible position. Instead of one 
flag being used, our men-of-war have over forty, and these are all 
conspicuously distinct from each other. The messages are not spelt 
out, as in land operations, but the flags are used in various com- 
binations, and the meaning of the signal is found by reference to a 



code-book. These flags, it is arithmetically evident, can be trans- 
posed and grouped in some thousands of different ways, and 
the code-book contains questions and answers to meet the very 
varied requirements of naval service, and the special signal hoist 
for each. 

The first real attempt at sea-signalling was made during the 
reign of Charles II., when a series of signs of the most arbitrary 
character was devised, consisting for the most part of flags hoisted 
in various parts of the ship, and altering their significance as their 
locality was changed. The system was a very cumbrous one, and 
in 1780 Kempenfeldt, the Commander of the ill-fated Royal George, 
improved to some extent upon it, but even then the result was not 
very brilliant. Lord Howe, in 1792, could only make a total of one 
hundred and eighty-three signals. As yet, however, it had never 
struck anybody how much simplicity and advantage would be gained 
by employing numbered or lettered flags, and then using them in the 
thousands of combinations that such a system rendered possible. 
It is stated by various authorities and even authorities have a way 
of copying from each other that flags were numbered for the first 
time about the year 1799, but in the Library of the Royal United 
Service Institution may be seen " An Essay on Signals, by an 
Officer of the British Navy," bearing the date 1788.* The flags 
were numbered i, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and o, and they are repre- 
sented in our illustrations by Figs. 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 
294, 295, and 296. It will be seen that they are all of a very clear 
and distinct character. When such a number as 444 was required, 
it would appear to be necessary to have three flags like Fig. 290 
the No. 4 of the series but to avoid this multiplication of identical 
flags, a red triangular flag called a decimal, a white triangular 
called a centenary, and a blue triangular called a millenary, were 
used, and these were placed as required before the unit to be 
repeated. By this plan 444 would be expressed by the yellow flag, 
the No. 4, having below it the red and white pennants. Sometimes 
these flags really meant numbers, and then the required number was 
hoisted, plus a yellow swallow-tailed flag. Thus in answer to 
" How many guns does she carry ? " if the response should be fifty, 
the five and the nought flags, Figs. 290 and 296, plus the swallow. 
tail or cornet, as it is technically called, would be hoisted, while the 
same five-nought signal, without the cornet, would signify " whole 
fleet change course four points to starboard." 

If we want to find the English equivalent of some German word, 
we turn to the German-English half of our dictionary, but if we 

One may se here, too, the signal book of James. Duke of York, dating about 1665, 
by means of which most of our sea-fights with the Dutch were conducted, and also the 
code introduced by Kempenfeldt 


required the German equivalent of our English word, we should 
refer to the English-German part of the book, and signal codes are 
in like manner divided into flag-message and message-flag. By the 
system we are at present discussing, we should find by referring to 
the flag-message half of our book, that the three flags 7, 3, 6, meant, 
" recall cruisers," while 8, 3, 6, signified " sprung a leak." On the 
other hand, if we wished ourselves to send such an order we should 
turn to the message-flag half of our code book, and under the 
heading of " Cruisers," find all the references that could concern the 
management of such vessels until we presently found " Cruisers, 
recall 7, 3, 6," and then at once proceed to hoist those particular 
flags. Only fourteen flags, the ten numerals, the three pennants, 
and the cornet, suffice for sending many hundreds of messages, but 
the anonymous author adds, " exclusive of this arrangement, I 
would propose to have the most current signals in battle made with 
one flag only, and these should be used on the day of battle only. 
A similarity between these and the flags used as the numerical 
signals ought as much as possible to be avoided." Figs. 279, 280, 
281, 282, 283, 284, 285, and 286, are illustrations of some of these. 
The striking design of the rising sun signifies " engage the enemy." 
Fig. 280 is an order for " close action." Fig. 281 is an instruction 
to " invert the line of battle by tacking," while Fig. 282 is a direction 
to " force the enemy's line." It is needless to particularise them 
all, suffice it to say that (each and all are of stirring significance. 
Many minds were at work on the urgent problem of an adequate 
system of sea-signalling, and numerous plans, therefore, were sug- 
gested. It does not appear that the one we have just referred 
to as an example of these endeavours to solve the difficulty was 
ever adopted. 

The official " Signal Book for the Ships of War," compiled by the 
Admiralty in 1799, and afterwards amplified in 1803 by Admiral 
Sir Hope Popham, is of immense interest, as it was introduced into 
the Navy for the first time in the fleet of Nelson, and it was there- 
fore the code of Trafalgar. In the copy preserved in the Library 
of the Royal United Service Museum is written, "this is a copy of 
the signal book by means of which the battle of Trafalgar was 
fought." All signals are by numbers. In the book in question, 
those given have been pasted over others, but some of those under- 
neath are still visible : thus the flag that once represented one here 
stands for five, and the flag that heretofore was three is now seven. 
" If the Admiral " an instruction in the book says " should have 
reason to believe that the enemy has got possession of these signals, 
he will make the signal for changing the figures of the flags. The 
figure, which byithe new arrangement each flag is to represent, is to 
be immediately entered in every ship's signal-book," and it is 


evident that one of these transpositions has been made here. The 
ten flags of the code are represented in Figs. 269, 270, 271, 272, 273, 
274, 275, 276, 277, and 278. It is very difficult to say really how the 
flags were arranged for the world-famed " England expects that 
every man will do his duty," as the numerical significance of the ten 
flags was so often changed during the exigencies of war. The book 
we have referred to makes Fig. 270 stand for i, Fig. 278 for 2, Fig. 275 
for 3, Fig. 273 for 4, Fig. 269 for 5, etc., ; and while it declares that 
it was by this code Trafalgar was fought, we have no evidence as to 
who wrote this statement. It may have been the authoritative 
statement of some one at the time in full possession of the facts, or 
a mere surmise added a dozen years afterwards by some irre- 
sponsible scribbler. On turning to the " Naval History" of James, 
Vol. IV., p. 34, we read " there is not, that we are aware of, a single 
publication which gives this message precisely as it was delivered. 
The following is a minute of the several flags, as noted down on 
board more than one ship in the fleet." He then proceeds to give 
them, and the arrangement that he follows is that of our illustra- 
tion, his i being Fig. 269 ; 2, Fig. 270; 3, Fig. 271 ; 4, Fig. 272 ; 5, 
Fig. 273 ; 6, Fig. 274 ; 7, Fig. 275 ; 8, Fig. 276; 9, Fig. 277 ; and o 
Fig. 278. If he may be accepted as a reliable authority, " England " 
was expressed by the flags 2, 5, and 3 ; " expects," by 2, 6, and 9 ; 
" that," by flags 8, 6, and 3 ; " every," by flags 2, 6, and i ; " man," 
by 4, 7, and i ; " will," by 9, 5, and 8; "do," by 2, 2 and o; and 
"his," by 3, 7, o, those being the code numbers assigned to those 
words in the vocabulary. This necessitated eight distinct hoists, 
one group of flags for each word, but singularly enough the code 
contained no signal for " duty," so that it was necessary to spell 
this out letter by letter, making four hoists more, flag 4 being 
for " d " ; 2 and i for " u " ; i and 9 for " t" ; and 2 and 5 for "y." 
As given in one or two French historical works the signal is equally 
short and expressive : " L'Angleterre compte que chacun fera son 
devoir." The story of Nelson's signal is best told in the words of 
the Victory's Signal Lieutenant, Pasco, the officer who received 
Nelson's orders to make it. " His Lordship," Lieutenant Pasco 
says, " came to me on the poop, and, after ordering certain signals 
to be made, about a quarter to noon, said, ' Mr. Pasco, I want to say 
to the fleet " England confides that every man will do his duty." ' 
He added, ' You must be quick," for I have one more to add, which 
is for " close action." 't I replied, ' If your Lordship will permit 
me to substitute " expects " for " confides " the signal will soon be 

* The Victory at this time was somewhat less than a mile and a half troiu th<; eneui) i 

t The signal for "close action" was flags i and 6. All flag signals are always read 
from above downwards ; 6 and i would mean something entirely different to i and 6 

*H FLAGS 09 tfH Wo*i.t, 33 

, beauso thtt word " expeett " U in the vocabulary, and 
f ' confided " muat be spelt.' * Hia Lordehjp replied In haste, and with 
seeming aatisfaotion, That will do, Pasoo, make it directly.' As 
the last hoist was hauled down, Nelson turned to Captain 
Blackwood, who was standing by him, and said, ' Now I can do no 
more. We must trust to the Great Disposer of all events, and the 
justice of our cause ; I thank God for this great opportunity of 
doing my duty.' " And Great Britain that day did not call upon her 
sons in vain, nor was the appeal to the God of Battles unheard, 
though the rejoicing of victory was turned into mourning at the loss 
of him who had so nobly done his duty in the nation's service. 

In the Royal Navy of the present day, a special code, requiring 
forty-five different flags, is employed. Figs. 254 to 267 inclusive, 
are examples of some of these.f This code, we need scarcely say, 
is of a confidential nature, and is not published anywhere for all 
the world to study. " The Commercial code of International 
signals being now recognised by the principal maritime States of the 
world, is, by Queen's regulations, made use of by our men-of-war 
when communicating with foreign war-ships, or with merchant 
vessels whether British or foreign. The signal codes of the Royal 
Navy, when not actually in use, are kept in perforated metal 
cylinders, so that in case of capture of the vessel they may at 
once be thrown overboard. In the Library of the Royal United 
Service Institution may be seen the Signal book of the U.S. frigate 
Chesapeake, with bullets attached to it for the purpose of sinking it. 
In the confusion incidental to the capture of the vessel by H.M.S. 
Shannon^ it fell into the hands of the Britisher. Besides these 
regulation signals of the American Navy, a second set, supplied to 
privateers, was also captured, marked " Strictly confidential. The 
commanders of private armed vessels are to keep this paper 
connected with a piece of lead or other weight, and to Ihrow the 
whole overboard before they shall strike their flag, that they may 
be sunk." This also, instead of going to the bottom of the Atlantic, 
may be seen within half a mile of Charing Cross. 

Landsmen have a notion, remembering possibly that Nelson 
went into action with the signal for close action flying, that when a 
signal is made it is to be instantly obeyed, but the present system 
of signalling is on somewhat different lines. The hoisting of a 
signal on the flag ship is preparative. The ships leading the other 
columns repeat the signal, hoisting their colours three-quarters of 

Expects," it will be seen, is expressed by one hoist of flags, while " confides " would 
and hau 

have necessitated the pulling up and hauling down of eight distinct sets. 
t Special 
th a black b 
J June ist, 

t Special hoists are also used for special purposes, thus the display of the yellow flag, 
with a black ball on it, is an intimation that torpedo practice is going on. 


the way up the mast. The other ships each hoist their " answering 
pennants " to show that they have seen and understood the order. 
Then when the repeating ships notice that all the other vessels 
have answered, they hoist the signal right up as an intimation to 
the Admiral that this is the case. Then it is that on the Admiral's 
ship the signal is hauled down, thus giving the executive order for 
its purport to be obeyed, so that the signal is cautionary of what 
is coming, and the manoeuvre is only executed when to the eye no 
instructions at all are to be seen. The answering pennant has 
vertical stripes red, white, red, white, red. 

Fig. 268 is the flag used by any vessel that wishes to communi- 
cate with a coastguard station, or hoisted when one coastguard 
station wants to send a message to another. Thus when Beachy 
Head has any notification to make to the neighbouring post away 
down at Burling Gap, the first thing to be done is to hoist at the 
masthead Fig. 268. When the men on duty at Burling Gap see 
this they hoist the answering pennant, meaning " all right, talk 
away," and then the arms of the Beachy Head semaphore work 
vigorously, or the gay signal flags flutter in the breeze and send 
their message across the downs. 

War vessels signal to each other at night by means of the 
Morse system of short and long flashes,* and all the large steam- 
ship lines have night signals peculiar to themselves, thus the night 
signal of the Orient Line is red and blue lights burnt alternately. 
Any vessel seeing this, knows that they are dealing with this 
special Line and similarly report themselves, and after this due 
introduction proceed to dot and dash to their heart's content. 

The last two rows of flags on plate XXIII. are signals for pilots. 
These are either the two flags standing for P. and T. in the Inter- 
national Signal Code, a system we have yet to deal with, or it may 
be a single flag, the special pilot flag of each nation. Fig. 297 
is the pilot flag of the Argentine Republic ; Fig. 298, that of 
Brazil ; Fig. 299, that of Ecuador. Fig. 300 is the pilot flag of 
Greece; 301, that of Japan; and 304, that of Spain. France, 
Mexico and Chili all adopt a flag like Fig. 278, a white flag 
with broad blue border, while Great Britain, Fig, 104, Germany, 
Fig. 302, Belgium, Fig. 303, Denmark, Fig. 305, Holland, 
Fig. 306, Sweden, Austria^Hungary, Italy, all fly the national 
flag of the country with a broad white border to it. Russia 
takes the Jack, Fig. 215, for the same purpose, and places this 

* This system was introduced by Captain Columb in 1862. On one occasion, during 
heavy weather, from a steamer fifteen miles off shore he sent a message through a station 
on the Isle of Wight across to Portsmouth, and recf-ived his answer back in thirteen 
minutes! This was altogether too good to bd gainsaid or shelved, and the sj-siciu wij 
speedily adopted. 


white band around it, while the United States of America takes 
the star-bestrewn azure canton from the national flag, Fig. 146, 
and similarly surrounds it with the broad band of white. 

Penalties are recoverable, as they clearly should be, if any 
ship uses or displays signals which may be mistaken for either 
pilot calls or signals of distress. 

The United States uses flags for its weather signals at the 
various meteorological stations. A violent storm is prognosticated 
by a red flag with a black centre. A red pennant signifies " storm 
approaching station," while a yellow pennant signifies " call at 
station for special information." A plain white flag betokens fine 
weather and a plain blue one rain or snow, and there are various 
combinations of other flags that indicate direction, intensity, 
velocity and so forth. It is evident that this employment of flags 
could be made a very valuable one. 

Another instance of its use with which we are acquainted, is at 
the London office in St. Paul's Churchyard of the Draper's Record, 
one of the largest in circulation of any trade paper in the world. 
The citizen of London may see displayed from its roof by private 
enterprise the whole of the forecasts issued by the Meteorological 
Office, viz., the n a.m., the 3.30 p.m., and the 8.30 p.m. for the 
South of England, which officially includes St. Paul's Churchyard. 
A white flag is hoisted for clear weather, a blue one for rain, while 
local showers are prognosticated by a flag half blue and half white. 
Changeable weather is indicated by a flag like Fig. 267, and a 
coming fog by a yellow flag with black ball in its centre, like 
Fig. 258. Snow is foretold by a flag like Fig. 278, and squally 
weather by a swallow-tailed flag, having its upper half black, and 
the lower white. A plain red triangular flag is used to indicate 
temperature ; when this is hoisted above other flags, it indicates 
rising temperature ; when placed below, falling temperature ; and 
when omitted we are to conclude that things are stationary. Thus 
the red flag, then below it the white one, and then the blue hoisted 
together, would mean that we might expect warmer weather, at first 
fair, but succeeded by rain, while the blue flag above the red 
would indicate that wet weather was before us, and a fall of 

At the 1894 meeting of the National Rifle Association at Bisley 
a system of this kind was inaugurated, in order to give those in 
camp an idea of the weather that might be expected for the ensuing 
twelve hours, the hoisting of a blue flag indicating fine weather or 
moderate wind, a red one foretelling stormy weather or strong 
wind ; green, pointing to unsettled weather or gusty wind, and a 
yellow flag indicating thunder or rain storms. For shooting pur- 
poses a knowledge of the strength of the wind is very valuable. 


The development ot a code of flag signals seems to hav* 
exercised a great fascination on many minds, and the result has 
been that until the general adoption of the International code 
things had got into a somewhat chaotic state. Some systems had 
many excellent points in them, while others broke down under the 
strain of practical use. In some cases, too, the claims of patriotism 
influenced the choice, it being difficult for an Englishman or an 
American to believe that the scheme of a Frenchman or German 
could possibly be better than the home-grown article. 

The systems best known in this country are the Admiralty codes 
of 1808, 1816, and 1826, Lynn's in 1818, Squire's in 1820, Raper's 
in 1828, Philipps 1 in 1836, Eardley Wilmot's in 1851, the code of 
Rogers, the American, in 1854, the French code of Reynolds in 
1855, and the system devised by Marryat in 1856, all being super- 
seded by that of the Board of Trade. 

The International code of signals was prepared and first pub- 
lished in April, 1857, in accordance with the views and recom- 
mendations of a Committee appointed by the Lords of the Privy 
Council. Three members, Admiral Beechey, Captain Robcit 
Fitzroy, and Mr. J. H. Brown, the Registrar-General of Seamen, 
were named by the Board of Trade ; one member, Admiral Bethune, 
by the Admiralty ; an elder brother, Captain Bax, was appointed as 
a member by the Trinity House; Mr. W. C. Hammett and Captain 
Halstead were the members named by Lloyds ; while the Liverpool 
Shipowners' Association, and the General Shipowners' Society, each, 
by the nomination of a member, had a voice in the discussion. 

After a deliberation of more than a year, the examination of 
the thirteeen then existing codes and due attention to any practical 
suggestion made to them, a mature and valuable scheme was pro- 
mulgated. Eighteen flags in all, viz., one burgee, four pennants, and 
thirteen square flags, were employed, and these represented the 
consonants of the alphabet. These are depicted in the three upper 
rows on plate XXIV. Figs. 307 to 324, the letter it stands for in the 
code being placed by each flag. These flags are combined in 
various ways, either in twos, threes, or fours, and are always read 
downwards, thus Fig. 325 must be read B.D.T.F ; if we read it the 
reverse way, as F.T.D.B, it would have an entirely different 

Of the two-flag signals we have three varieties. Should the 
burgee, Fig. 307, be uppermost it constitutes what is termed an 
attention signal; thus the hoisting of B.D signifies, "What ship is 
that ? " If the upper flag be a pennant C.D.F. or G it is a 
compass signal ; thus G.F means west-north-west-half-west. If a 
square flag be uppermost it is an urgency signal ; thus, N.C signifies 
' am in distress," or N.J " am driving, no more anchors to let go." 


8ignali nude with three flftge aro not classified according to the 
upper flag; they relate to subjects of general inquiry or communi* 
cation of news. In the lower portion of Plate XXIV. we have given 
five examples of these. Fig. 330, flags B.P.Q, asks " Do you wish 
to be reported ? " while the hoisting of P.D.S, see Fig. 332, replies, 
" Report me to Lloyds' Agent." Fig. 333, H.V.F, asks, " Do you 
want assistance?" while Fig. 334, G.B.H, enquires, "Has any 
accident happened ? " Fig. 331, made up of flags V.K.C, gives the 
reassuring answer to both enquiries "All safe." As weather signals, 
we find " barometer rising" indicated by G.F.W ; " barometer fall- 
ing" by G.H.B ; and "barometer standing," by G.H.C. Fine weather 
is prognosticated by the group H.M.S ; a breeze off sea is foretold 
in the combination H.S.V; and a breeze off land by H.S.W. 

Signals composed of four flags are divided into different sections 
again, according to the form of the uppermost flag employed. If 
this upper flag be either of the pennants C.D or F, it indicates that 
the signal is what is called vocabulary. If the upper be the 
burgee the letter B of the code it is a geographical signal ; thus, 
any vessel beating up channel and seeing Fig. 325, made up of 
B.D.T.F, hoisted from a lighthouse, would, even if uncertain before, 
know their position, as this signal is the one specially assigned to 
the Eddystone Fig. 326, the letters B.D.P.Q, signifies that the 
vessel flying it hails from the port of London, while B.F.Q.T. is 
Edinburgh, and so on. All names of ships are expressed by four 
letters, thus N.V.B.Q is the code signal (Fig. 327) of the steamship 
Germanic; M.N.D.L (Fig. 328) that of the Hesperus ; and Fig. 329, 
made up of G.R.C.T, is the special grouping assigned to H.M.S. 
Devastation. All these names are recorded in the Shipping List, so 
that two vessels passing each other in mid-ocean are able at once 
to determine each others' names if within sighting distance of the 
flags run up. Should we see a stately liner coming to port, flying 
M.T.L.Q, we recognise that it is the Australia of the great 
Peninsula and Oriental Line, but if she runs up L.H.T.B then she 
is the Orient Company's boat Orotava. Some names occur fre- 
quently, thus other Australias, belonging to various owners, are 
distinguished by the code signals R.L.H.V, J.T.G.K, M.P.F.C, 
M.Q.N.G, M.T.W.D, W.F.T.N, etc., etc. Figs. 355, 356, 357, 
358, 359 are all code signals of various Australias. While the 
Peninsular and Oriental Company has also a Victoria, K.M.Q-F., 
they have no monopoly of the name. There are numerous other 
boats of that popular designation, but even when vessels have the 
same name no two vessels ever have the same code letters assigned 
to them. Other Victorias,ior example, are differentiated, as W.Q.M.N., 
L.S.H.R, K.P.G.Q, M.K.C.H, M.S.P.B, M.Q.C.J, L.D.F.I1. 
T.R.B.N, K.J.H.P, T.D.R.F, etc, etc. Figs. 350, 351, 35*. 35 J, 


354 are all Victorias ; and Figs. 360, 361, 362, 363, 364 are the flag- 
signals of various Britannias. Ours readers will see at once how 
distinctive they are. Figs. 335 to 349 inclusive are the special flags of 
well-known steamships of the Peninsular and Oriental, the Orient 
Line, and the Compagnie Generate Transatlantique. 

Should the vessel be a yacht, it is the Aline if she shows the 
flags P.W.N.D; the Star of the Sea if her signal is T.N.B.H ; but 
if it is the Meteor we shall be aware of the fact from her hoisting 
the four flags L.C.T.P. The flag signal of the Valkyrie is L.F.M.G. 

Applications for the allotment of a code-signal, for the purpose 
of making ships' names known at sea, should be made, if of the 
United Kingdom, to the Registrar General of Shipping, Cus- 
tom House, and, if belonging to a Colony, to the Registrar at 
the port to which the vessel belongs. If a ship to which this 
International Code Signal has been alloted is reported wrecked, 
lost, or sold to a foreigner, and her register is in consequence 
cancelled, the signal letters allotted to her are also cancelled, so 
that if the ship is afterwards recovered or re-purchased from 
foreigners, either in her original or some other name, new signal 
letters will be necessary, and the owner must make application 
anew for another allotment, as the signal letters the vessel originally 
bore may have been in the interval re-allotted. 

The flags to be hoisted at one time never exceed four, and it is 
an interesting arithmetical fact, that, with these eighteen flags, 
never using more than four at a time, over seventy-eight thousand 
different combinations can be made. With these flags, only using 
two at a time, 306 different arrangements can be made, while 
by using three at a time we get 4,896 possibilities, and by using 
four at a time, we can make 73,440 changes ; a total in all of 78,642 
variations made from these simple elements. Marryat's code, prior 
to the introduction of the International, being the one most in use, 
twelve out of its sixteen flags were, to save expense, incorporated in 
the new code. Their significance was, however, entirely changed. 
Marryat's flags, too, were numerals, while the International code, 
as we have seen, has its flags named after the letters of the 

Proposals are in the air to add eight new flags to the code, the 
X, Y, and Z, and the five vowels, since it is held that even the 
great number of combinations now possible may in time not suffice, 
The reason for the absence of the vowels is a somewhat curious 
one. Directly vowels are introduced we begin to spell words, and 
it was found that amongst the thousands of combinations possible, 
would be presently included all the profane, obscene, and other- 
wise objectionable four-letter words of the whole world. To 
hoist D.B.M.N could offend no one's susceptibilities, but to 


run up the signal D.A.M.N in response to an enquiry is quite 
another matter, and it must be remembered that as this code U 
used by all civilised nations, a word that is merely meaningless 
in one country might be most offensive in another. An English 
Captain might hoist as a necessary signal J.A.L.P. or F.L.U.M. 
and see no possible objection to it, but "jalp" or " flum " might 
to the people of some other nationality carry a most atrocious 

It is a practical necessity that all connected with the sea 
should understand the use of the International code, therefore, the 
Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty require that all Royal Naval 
Reserve men who act as Masters or Mates of ships should be 
instructed in its working, and the Board of Trade makes like 
requirements from all candidates for Masters' or Mates' Certificates. 
Its International character is a most valuable feature, as by its 
use two captains, say a Dane and a Greek, or a Russian and a 
Spaniard, who, on the quay, could not comprehend a word of each 
other's language, can at sea, by this common flag-language, come to 
a perfectly clear understanding of each other's need, or 
impart any information required. It is the only code used at the 
signal stations around our coasts. Lloyds' have thirty-three of 
these signal stations at Dover, Beachy Head, Lundy Island* 
Dungeness, Flamborough Head, St. Catherine's Point, North 
Foreland, and other conspicuous points on our line of ocean traffic, 
and abroad again at Aden, Ascension, Gibraltar, Bermuda, 
Honolulu, Suez, Perim, Malta, Teneriffe, and elsewhere, and here 
too, the International is the only code recognised. 

This " Lloyds," that we may see daily referred to in the news- 
papers, is a Corporation that, amongst other marine business, 
distributes shipping intelligence. A Mr. Edward Lloyd, in the 
seventeenth century, kept a coffee house in Tower Street, which 
in time from the daily gathering there of merchants, captains, and 
others interested in marine affairs, became a centre for shipping 
and underwriting news and business. In the year 1692 it was 
moved to Lombard Street, and in 1774 the coffee supplying part 
of the business was abandoned and rooms were taken in the 
Royal Exchange. During the wars with Napoleon, the Govern, 
ment was often indebted to the Committee of Lloyds' for the 
earliest information of important events all over the world. 
Lloyds' has its agents in every port, and by its complete organisa- 
tion and the potent aid of the telegraph, the shipping business of the 
world is brought day by day before us. Vessels spoken far out on the 
ocean are reported by the vessel that spoke them immediately on its 
arrival at any port, Thus a sailing-vessel journeying from London 
to Vancouver may be five months o*- more before it touches land 

*4& 9HI t-LAOM U* YHit 

tut during that time It it sighted by other vessels tro, tittm w 
time, and these report having seen it, and that all was well on 
hoard. So the mother knows that her son, who is parted from her 
by thousands of miles of ocean, has got thus far in health and 
safety ; and the owners of the vessel learn that their venture has go 
far surmounted the perils of Cape Horn and the other dangers of 
the deep. The good ship is drawing nearer at each report to 
the end of her long voyage, and on arrival at last off Vancouver, 
as the land is sighted, the signal flags run up once more to the 
masthead, the news of her coming is flashed across continent and 
ocean, and the London newspaper of the next morning contains 
the brief notification that far exceeds to anxious hearts all else of 
interest its broad pages may contain. 

Familiarity, though it may not necessarily breed contempt, dulls 
the sense of the wonder of it all, and yet how marvellous it is ! 
We have before us the Standard, that came into our hands about 
seven o'clock this morning, and we find from it that yesterday the 
G lenshiel had arrived at Hong Kong, that the Arab, from Cape Town, 
had just put in at Lisbon, that the Sardinian, from Quebec, had 
reached Moville, that the Circassian was safely at New York, that 
the Orizaba, speeding on to Sydney, had at 2 a.m. passed the 
desolate shores of arid Perim, that the Danube, from Southampton, 
had at 6 a.m. entered the harbour of Rio Janeiro. Of this, and 
much else of the same tenor, may we read in a space of a 
quarter-column or so of the paper as we sit at breakfast and see 
pass before us a panorama of world-wide interest and extent; 
and to accomplish this result, the flags' we have figured have been 
a potent factor. 

Though we have covered much ground, it must have been 
patent to all readers who have thus far companioned us that 
much detail was necessarily omitted, unless our book had to grow 
to the dimensions of an encyclopaedia. It would probably, for 
instance, take some fifty figures or so to give all the distinctive 
flags of the various government departments, official ranks, etc., 
of a single Great Power. We trust nevertheless that while our 
labours have been by no means exhaustive, they have been instru- 
mental in showing that there is much of interest in flag-lore, and 
that an increased knowledge and appreciation of our subject may 
be one result of our pleasant labours, and prove full justification 
for our work. 


Aargau, flag of 116 

"Acta Sanctorum." the ... 38 
Admiral's flag, R.N. ... 56 

Admiralty, flag of the 71, 72 

Agincourt. battle of 106 

Agincourt. flags at 5 

Agnus Dei. as device on flag 22 
A lisa, flag of the yacht ... 73 
Allan Line, flag of the ... 75 
Allotment of code signals ... 138 
Ambulance flag .. ... 117 

Ancient Irish harp 33 

Anchor as badge, 63,71.87, 100, 114 
Andrew, cross of St.. 4, 35. 42, 43, 

45. 53, 116 

Andrew, St.. of Scotland. 37. 42. 44 
Andrew. St.. of Russia 103. 104 
Andrew, St., order of ... 102 
Anne, Standard of Queen ... '35 
Annunciation on flag .. 4 
Answering pennant ... ... 134 

Antelope as a device ... 16 

Antiquity, standards of ... 2 
Antwerp, device of city of ... in 
Anvil as device on fag ... 7 
Argentine Republic, riag of 124 
Armada, defeat of the ... 3 
Arms of Canada ... 81, 82 

Arms of Washington ... 91 
Army, flags of the ... ... 61 

Army signalling ...127,128,129 

Arragon, arms of nr 

Articles of War 56 

Assaye, special flag for ... 65 

Assyrian standards 2 

Athene, owl of 2 

Australian Steam Navigation 

Company's house flag 
Austro-Hungarian flags 
Avondale flag 
Awdeley, standard of Sir 



101, 102 


Bacon on sea-power 
Baden, flag of ... 

,. 17 

,. 101 

Badge, 9, 13, 15, 21, 62, 66, 67, 83, 

84, 117 
Bahamas, Badge of the ... 84 

Balmoral tartan i 

Banner, its nature 10 

Banneroll, kind of flag ... 18 
Bannockburn, battle of ... 44 
Barbadoes, badge of ... 83 

Barcelona, arms of in 

Bar, banner of Sir John de n 
Bardolph, banner of Sir 

Hugh n 

Basel, flag of city of ... 116 

Bavaria, flag of ... 101,119 
Bayeux tapestry, flags repre- 
sented in ... 19, 22 

Bear as a device 1,2 

Beau-seant of Knights 

Templars 24 

Beaver as a device I, 30 

Bede on flags 4 

" Beehive of the Romish 

Church" 3 

Bees of the Napoleons 106, 109 
Belgium, flags of ... 23,118 

Bermuda, badge of 84 

Berne, flag of 116 

Beverley, flag of 5 

Birkenhead, burning of the 64 
Black and white flag of 

Prussia 98 

Black as a flag colour 7, 24, 25 
Black Swan, device of the ... 84 
Blackwall line of shipping... 74 

Black Watch, the 62 

Blenheim, battle of ... 64, 66 

Blue blanket of Edinburgh. . . 42 
Blue ensign ... 40. 56, 73. 78, 83 
Board of Trade, flag of the 71 

Bohemia, flag of 102 

Bolivia, flag of ... 23, 123 
Bombardment of Scio ... n8 
Boots and shoes on a flag ... 7 
Bordered Jack ... 48, 58 

Botetourte, banner of Sir 

John ... n 

Bourbon kings, the 107 




Brabant, lion of 112 

Brass of Sir John Dauber- 
noun iS 

Brazil, flag of ... 23, 24, 123 

Brazil, pendant of 20 

Bremen, flag of port of .. 99 

Britannia, flag of the yacht 73 

British East Africa, device of 84 

British Guiana, badge of ... 84 
British North Borneo, badge 

of 84 

Broad pendant 56 

Brunswick, arms of 35 

Brunswick, flag of 101 

Buckles as device on flag .. 7 

Bugle-horn as a device .. 15 

Builder's square on flag .. 6 

Bulgaria, flag of 121 

Bunker's Hill, battle of ... 87 

Bunting as material for flags 22 
Burgee, variety of flag 19, 73 
Burgundy, flag of ... in, 112 

Burning of rebel colours ... 70 
Butler's " Lives of the 

Fathers" 39 

Butterflies as a flag device... 17 


Campbell on the national flag 54 

Canada, Dominion of ... 10 

Canada, flags of Dominion of 80 
Canadian Pacific steamship 

line 75 

Candlemakers' flag, the ... 7 
Canterbury Cathedral, flags 

in 66 

Cantonal colours ... ... 116 

Cape of St. Martin 105 

Cape St. Vincent, action off 41 

Castle Line, house flag of the 75 
Castle on flag as a device in, 112 

Cavalry standards 65 

Cavers standard, the ... 43 
Ceylon, device of the Colony 

of 84 

Chapel of Royal College. 

Chelsea, flags in ... 3, 66 

Chaucer, quotation from 12, 18 

Cheering to order 102 

Cherbourg, flag of port of ... 75 

Chili, flag of 121 

Chili, pendant of 20 

Chinese flags 125 

Chrysanthemum flag of 

Japan 124 

Coastguard flag 134 

Codes for flag-signalling ... 136 

Coffee plant on flag 123 

Coins, devices on 2, 88, 90. 120 
Colombia, flag of United 

States of 122 

Colonial Defence Act 78, 79, 80 
Colonial flags ... 20, 40, 78 

Colonies, value of ... 76. 77 

Colour party 64 

Colours, Queen's ... 61. 65, 67 
Colours, regimental... 61, 65, 67 
Colours used in flags ... 23 

Columbus, flag flown by 86, 1 1 1 
Commodore's broad pendant 56 
Commonwealth flags ... 48 
Company or house flags 74, 75 
Compasses as a device ... 6 
Compass signals ... ... 136 

Confederate States of Ame- 
rica 27.94.95 

Congo Free State, flag of ... 126 
Conquest of Ireland ... 33 

Consecrated banner... 3, 103 

Constantine, Labarum of, 2, 3. 51 

Consular flag 71 

Consul - General, Russian, 

flag of 104 

Cornet, variety of flag 19, 130 

Costa Rica, flag of 122 

Ceurtenay, banner of Sir 

Hughde ii 

Covenanter flags ... 24. 43. 91 
Crescent as device, n, 15, 88, 95. 

119, 120 

Croatia, flag of 102 

Cromwell, arms of 35 

Cromwell, funeral of ... 19 

Cross of St. Andrew, 4. 35, 42, 43, 

45- 53. "6 
Cross of bt. George, 4, 10, 14, 16, 

35, 39, 41, 45, 48.53,84, 87. 116 
Cross of St. Patrick. 4, 51, 53. 

Crown of Charlemagne ... 35 

Crowns of Ireland 33 

Cuba, flag of 124 

Culloden, battle of 70 

Cunard Line, house flag of... 74 
Customs Department, flag of 71 
Czarina, standard of the ... 102 
Czar, standard of the 102, 103 


Dalmatia, flag of 102 

Dannebrog, the 115 

Demerara and Berbice 

Steamship Company ... 74 

Denis, St., flag of .., . 5 


Denmark, flags of 115 

Derivation of word flag ... 8 

Desjardins on French flag... 107 

Devitt and Moore house flag 74 

Diana, crescent of 119 

Diplomatic Service, flag of 71 

Dipping the flag 25 

Dragon as a device ... 17, 125 

Drayton, quotation from ... 15 

Durham, St. Cuthbert of ... 5 


Eagle as a device, 41, 91, 93, 94, 
98, 101, 102, 105, 109, no 

Early Spanish flags 27 

East Africa Company, Ger- 
man loo 

East India Company, flag of, 47, 89 
East Kent Regiment, flags of 66 
East Prussia, flag of ... 98 

Ecclesiastical flags often 

pictorial 4 

Ecuador, flag of 124 

Eddystone Light flag signal 137 
Edinburgh Cathedral, flags 

in 68 

Edinburgh Trained Bands... 42 
Edmonson on flag usage ... 9 
Edward the Confessor, arms 

of 34 

Edward III., "King of the 

Seas" 25 

Edward VI., funeral of ... 17 
Egypt, ancient, standards of i 
Egyptian flags, modern 120, 121 

Electoral bonnet 52 

Elephant as a device 65, 84, 125 
Elephant, order of the ... 115 
Elizabeth, funeral of Queen 17 
Elizabeth, thanksgiving ser- 
vice 3 

Elsass, flag of 101 

Emperor of Germany ... 98 

Ensign 8 

Ermine as a flag device ... 24 
Errors in flag-making 58, 59, 60 

Excise, flag of the 71 

Eye as a device on flag ... 7 


Facings of the regiment ... 62 

Falcon as a device 17 

Favyn " Le Theatre d'hon- 

neur" 4, 107 

Fiji, badge of colony ... 84 
Files represented on trad* 
flag 7 

Flag-book of the Admiralty 120 

Flag-lore valuable ...... 58 

Flagons on trade flag ... 7 
Flag-signalling ... izj.etseq. 

Flanders, badge of ...... m 

Flashing messages at night 134 
Fleur-de-lys, 21, 34, 36, 106, 108, 

109, 112 

Flodden, battle of ...... 6 

Florida, settlement of ... 86 

Florin, arms on the ... ... 32 

Fly of a flag, the ...... 10 

Fork and spoon on a flag ... 7 

Four-flag signals ...... 137 

France, flags of, i, 21, 105, 106, 

107. 108, 109, no 

Franco-German War of 1870 97 

Fribourg, flag of ...... 116 

Frogmorton, standard of ... 17 
Funeral obsequies, flags at 6, 17, 

18, 19, 22 


Garter, order of the ...... 38 

Gautier on the Swiss flag ... 116 
Geneva Convention... ... 117 

Geneva, flag of ...... 116 

Geographical signals ... 137 
George, St., cross of, 4, 10, 14, 16, 
George, St., of England, 36, 37, 116 

George, St.. of Russia 
German Unity ... 
Germany, flags of ... 
Globe on flag ... 

Gnu as a flag device 
Golden Legend, the... ... 

Gonfalon, kind of flag ... 
Government departments, 

flags of ......... 71 

Governor-General of Canada, 

flag of ......... 81 

Governors of Colonies, flags 

of ......... 81,84 

Grandison, banner of Sir 

William de ...... n 

Gray, quotation from 

Greater Britain 

Great Seal of Canada 

Great Seal of Richard I. 

Greece, Flag of 

Green and white of the 

Tudors ......... 21 

Green as a flag colour, 23, 43, 

"3. 123 
Greyhound as a device ... 17 

102, 103 

97, 98 

99, ico 

63. 87 

... 84 

... 37 

... 8 



Growth of the Italian State 1x3 

Guards, flags of the 65 

Guatemala, flag of ... 23, 122 
Guidon, form of flag ... 21 

Guild flags 6, 7 

Guinea Company's flag ... 27 


Half-mast high, flags at ... 25 
Hamburg, flag of city of ... 99 
Hammer represented on flag 6, 7 

Hand as a device 2 

Hanover, arms of ... 29, 35, 52 

Hanover, flag of 101 

Hanseatic League, flag of ... 99 

Harfleur. siege of 12 

Harleian MS. on flags 16. 21 

Harp of Ireland, 4, 29, 32, 33, 34, 

49. 54 

Hayti, flag of ... 23, 124 

Heavenly succour, 37, 42. 44. 106, 


Henry V., standard of ... 16 
Henry VI I., flags in chapel of 12 
Heraldic Exhibition, Edin- 
burgh 43 

Heraldic requirements in 

flag devising ... 23, 54 

Hesse, flag of 101 

Highland tartans I 

41 History and principles of 

Heraldry" 10 

Hohenzollerns, arms of the 99 
Hoisting one flag over 

another 25 

Hoist of the flag, the ... 10 
Holderton, banner of Sir 

John de n 

Holland, flags of ... 117,118 
Hong Kong, badge of colony 

of 84 

Horse as a device 2 

Horsham, political colours at 8 

House flags 24. 74, 75 

House of Orange, flag of ... 117 
Hungary, flag of ... 23, 102 

Idolatrous emblem 87 

Illiterate voters, mistakes of 7, 8 
Imperial Eagle ... 66. 101, 102 
Inscriptions on flags, 3. 4. 13. 15. 

16. 24. 35. 41. 43. 49. 66, 88, 

90. 93, 122, 123 
International signal code, 133, 136, 

137. 138 

Investiture of knight-banneret 14 

Invocation of saints ... 3 
Ireland joined to Great 

Britain 32 

Iron cross of Germany ... 100 
Isandlwana, battle of 63, 69 

Istria, flag of 102 

Italy, flags of ... 23, 113, 114 


James II., statue of 35 

' apan, flags of 124 

"erusalem, arms of city of, 114. 115 

ewish standards ... ... 3 

oan of Arc, standard of ... 4 

ove, Eagle of ... ... 2 


Karlaverok , siege of .. .11,18 
Kasan, arms of province of 102 
Katharine of Arragon flag- 
making 13 

Kempenfeldt's signal code... 130 

Key as a device on flag ... 15 

Khorsabad, slabs from ... 2 

Kingdom of Hungary ... 101 

King's Own Borderers ... 63 

Kiow. arms of province of... 102 

Knights-banneret 14 

Knights of the Bath, banners 

Of 12 

Knights of the Garter, ban- 
ners of 12 

Knights Templars, banner 

of the 24 

Kobel, book on costume 

and flags ... ... 101 

Korea, flag of kingdom of ... 125 

Labarum of Constantine 2, 3, 51 
Labuan. badge of colony of 84 
La Haye's book on flags ... 87 
Lamartine on the red flag ... 109 

Lancer pennon 14.19 

Landing of Charles II. ... 47 
Land of the rising sun ... 124 
Laurel wreath on flag ...49, 8r 
Lawyers, flag of the ... 7 

Leeward Isles, badge of the 84 
Leon and Castile, arms of, 86, no, 

Liberia, flag of 125 

Liberty, figure of ... 94.118 
Lion of Scotland ... 4, 29, 31, 34 
Lions of England ... 4, 29, 30, 34 


Livery colours ... 7, 14, 17, 21 

Livy on Vexillum 2 

Lloyd's signal stations ... 139 
Locksmiths, flag of the ... 7 
London, port of, flag signal 137 
London Trained Bands .. 41, 67 
Lone Star State, flag of the 95 
Lord Cardross, flag of ... 16 
Lord High Admiral of Eng- 
land 72,80 

Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, 

flag of 71 

Lord Mayor's Show, flags at 19, 20 
Loss of colours at Edgehill ... 65 

Lothringen, flag of 101 

Louisiana, flag of State of ... 94 
Louisiana, settlement of ... 86 
Lozenges as a device on flag 41 
Lubeck, flag of city of ... 99 

Lucerne, flag of 116 

Lunenburg, arms of ... 35 

Lydgate, the duty of chivalry 12 


Maccabees, standard of the 3 
Machyn, diary of, 6, 17, 21, 39, m 
Mackay, extract from --.57, 58 

Mail service flag 72 

Mainsail emblazoned as 

banner 12 

Malplaquet, battle of ... 64 
Man-of-war pendant, 20, 78, 93, 

no, in, 121, 129, 135 
Maple-leaf of Canada .. .30, 81 
Marmion, quotation from ... 8, 18 
Martin, description of West- 
ern Islands i 

Marseillaise, the 98 

Marseilles, flag of port of ... 75 

Martlets on flag 34 

Massachusetts, flag of ...3,87 
Mayflower, sailing of the ... 87 
Mecklenburg-Strelitz, flag of 101 

Mediaeval spelling 6, 22 

Mediterranean and New York 

Company 75 

Merchant flag, red ensign 40, 47, 

58. 73. 80 
Merchant Shipping (Colours) 

Act 58 

Metal-workers, flag of the ... 7 
Meteorological signals ... 135 
Mexico, flag of ... 23,123 
Milton, quotation from ... 8 
Minotaur as a device ... 2 
Minden, battle of 64 

" Mirror for Magistrates," 

quotation from 15 

Mohammedan flags often 

green 24 

Monasteries, flags of ... 5 
Monk, funeral of General ...18, 22 
Monogram, sacred, on flag, 3, 42, 51 
Monthermer, banner of Sir 

Ralph it 

Morse alphabet for signal- 
ling ... 127, 128, 129 
Mottoes on flags, 3, 4, 13, 15, 16, 
24, 35, 41, 43, 49, 66, 88, 90, 


93, 122, 123 
utiny in the Royal Navy... 25 


Napoleon, flags at tomb of... 4 

Nassau, arms of 29,35 

Natal, device of colony of ... 84 

Naval Discipline Act ... 56 

Naval Exhibition at Chelsea 41 
Navy signalling ... i2g,etseq. 

Nelson, funeral of 18,22 

Neville's Cross, battle of ... 5 
New Brunswick, arms of 

province of 82 

Newfoundland, badge of 

colony of 83 

New Granada, flag of ... 122 
New Guinea, badge of colony 

of .- ... 84 

New South Wales, badge of 

colony of ... ... 84 

New Zealand, badge of ... 84 
New Zealand Shipping Com- 
pany -.24,75 

Night signalling at sea ... 134 
Nisbet on the tressure ... 32 
Norie's " Flags of All Na- 
tions" 26 

Northallerton, sacred flags at 5 

North German Confederacy 99 

Norway, flag of 115 

Nova Scotia, arms of pro- 
vince of 82 

Nova Scotia, settlement of... 87 
Novgorod, arms of province 

of 102 


Obsolete flags ... 8, 22, 26 

Ontario, arms of province of 82 

Orange flag 8 

Orange Free State, flag of, 23, 125 
Order of Black Eagle ... 100 


Ordnance Department flag... 71 
Orient Steam Navigation 

Company ... 24, 134 

Oriflamme 105 

Oudenarde, battle of ... 64 
Owl of Athene 2 


Palmetto palm on flag ...94,95 
Pamiot Azof, flag of the ... 104 
Papal States, flag of the 23,114,115 

Paraguay, flag of 122 

Paris, arms of city of ... 109 
Passion symbols on flag ... 6 

Patrick, St., life of 51, 52 

Pendant or pennant, 20, 40, 78, 93, 

no, in, 121, 129, 135 
Peninsular and Oriental 

Company, flag of ... 74 
Pennoncelle or pencel ... 19 
Pennon, nature of the 14, 18, 19 
Pepys, extract from diary of 55 
Percy, banner of Sir Henri de 1 1 

Percy lion n, 15 

Percy motto 15,16 

Percy standard 15 

Persepolis, sculptures of ... 2 

Peruvian flag 123 

Pictorial flags 4 

Pilgrim Fathers, the ... 87 

Pilot flag ... 48, 100, 104, 134 
Pine-apple as a device ... 84 
Pine-tree flag ... 87, 88, 89 

Plantagenet livery colours .. 21 
Pliny on Roman standards. . . 2 

Poland, flag of 105 

Political colours 7 

Political devices on flags ... 4 

Pomerania, flag of 101 

Popham's signal code ... 131 
Portcullis as a device ... 21 
Portobello, capture of ... 41 

Ports, flags of 75 

Portugal, flags of ... 112, 113 
Pottery, representation of 

flags on 89 

Precedence a difficulty ... 28 
Presentation of colours ... 3, 66 
President, U.S.A., flag of ...93,94 
Printed flags... ... 23 

Protectorate flag, the ... 50 
Prussian eagle 98 


Quarantine flag, the ...25, 59 
Quebec, arms of province of 82 
Queen's colour 61,65 

Queensland, badge of colony 

of 83 

Queen's Regulations, 54, 55, 64. 
71, 78, 81 


Ramilies, battle of 64 

Rattlesnake flag ... i, 13, 87, 88 
Raven of the Danes ... 13 

Rebel colors burnt 70 

Red ensign ... 40, 47, 58, 73, 80 
Red flag of revolution 25, 59, 109 
Relics of saints worked into 

flag 5 

Religious character of early 

flags 4-5.22 

Religious service 3, 103 

Revenue flag, U.S.A. ... 93 
Rey on the French flag ... 107 
Rhode Island, flag of ... 87 
Richard II., standard of ... 17 
Ridre, standard of Sir Wil- 
liam de it 

Riga, flag of port of ... 75 

Ripon, St. Wilfrid's banner 

at 5 

Rolls of arms 10 

Rome, standards of ancient 2, 42 
Roses as a flag device ...16, 21 
Rotterdam, flag of port of ... 75 
Rouen, capture of ... 5, 38, 112 

Roumania, flag of 121 

Royal Colonial Institute ... 76 
Royal Horse Artillery of 1813 19 
Royal Marines ... ... 63 

Royal Naval Reserve, 40, 56, 57, 

73. 79. 139 
Royal Navy, flag code of the 133 

Royal Oak on coins 88 

Royal Standard n, 29, 34, 48, 54, 

59. 78 
Royal United Service 

Museum ... 24, 125, 130, 131 
Royal Yacht Squadron, flag 

of the 72 

Royston, political colours at 8 
Russia, flags of, 24, 102, 103, 104, 

I0 5 

Russian American Com- 
pany's flag 26 

Sacred monogram on flag ... 3 
Salique la\v, operation of ... 36 
Salmon as a flag device ... 82 
Saluting the flag ... 26,55,56 


San Salvador, flag of ... 124 

Sarawak, flag of 125 

Sardinia, flag of 26 

Savoy, flag of ... 27, 113, 123 
Saxe-Coburg Gotha, flag of 101 
Saxony, arms of ... ... 35 

Saxony, flag of ... ... 100 

Schomburg-Lippe, flag of ... 101 
School of Army Signalling... 128 
" Scotland for ever" ... 70 

Scots Greys 66 

Scottish grievance as to 

arms ... 31. 45, 4 6, 53 

Scottish variatior of Union 

flag 46 

Scott, quotation from ... 8, 29 

Servia, flag of 121 

Seven Champions of Chris- 
tendom 38 

Seventeenth Lancers ... 66 
Shakespeare, quotation from 15,37 
Shannon and Chesapeake duel 90 
Shears as a device on trade 

flag 7 

Siam, flag of kingdom of ... 125 
Signal-book of Chesapeake ... 133 
Signalling by flags ... 20, 23, 127, 

et seq. 
Simon de Montfort, banner 

of 12 

Skull and cross-bones device 66 
Sledge flags of Arctic expedi- 
tion 16 

South" Australia, badge of ... 83 
South Carolina, flag of, 87, 88, 94 
Southern Cross ... 30, 80, 96 
Sovereignty of the seas ...25,26 
Spain, flags of, i, 24, no, in, 112 
Spelling, mediaeval liberty of 6, 22 
Spenser, quotation from ... 36 

Sphinx as a badge 62, 63 

Spoon and fork on trade flag 7 
Standard, nature of the ... 14 
St. Andrew, cross of 4, 35, 42, 43, 

45- 53- II6 . 

Stars and bars, C.S.A. ...95, 96 
Stars and stripes, U.S.A. ... 59 

St. Denis, flag of 105 

Stewart on tartans ... ... i 

St. Gallen, flag of 116 

St. George, cross of 4, 10, 14, 16, 
35- 39. 4 r - 45. 4 8 - 53. 8 4- 8 7. * l6 
St. Helena, badge of colony 

of 84 

Storm signals by flags ... 135 
"Story of Thebes," quota- 
tion from ,,. ... 12 

St. Patrick, cross of 4, 51, 53, 


Straits Settlement, device of 84 
Streamer, variety of flag ...20, 21 
Strictly confidential signals 133 
Stuart, livery colours of 

house of 21 

Sun as a device 2,17 

Swallow-tail flag, 14, 18, 93, no, 

115, 116, 130 
Swan, black, of Western 

Australia 84 

Sweden, flag of 115 

Switzerland, flag of 116 

Swynnerton, standard of Sir 

Thomas de 16 

Sydney, Sir Philip, funeral of 18 
Sidney, Sir Philip, on war... 19 
Symbols to express colours 74 


Tartans, Scottish i 

Tasmania, device of colony of 84 
Telegraph Department, flag 

of 71 

Tessin, flag of Canton ... 117 
Teutonic, armament of the ... 57 
Teutonic order, cross of the 100 
Texas, flag of the State of ... 95 
Texel, flag of the port of ... 75 
" The late unpleasantness " 96 
"Theorike and Practike of 

Modern Warres " ... 61 

Third Dragoons 66 

Thistle as a flag device ...42.82 

Three-flag signals 137 

Tiger of Korea 125 

Titus, the arch of 2 

Tobacco plant on flag ... 123 
Torpedo practice flag ... 133 
Trafalgar, Nelson's famous 

signal 132, 133 

Trajan's column, standards 

on 2 

Transport service, flag of 

the 71, 104 

Transvaal, flag of the ... 126 

Trefoils as a device 41 

Tressure of Scotland, the ...31, 32 
Tricolor of France ... 40,108 
Trinidad, badge of colony of 84 
Trinity, banner of the ... 5, 6 
Trowel on guild flag ... 6 

Trumpet banners 12,20 

Tudor flags 17 

Tughra device, the ... 120, 121 



Tunisian flags too 

Turkey, flags of ... 24, 119, 120 
Twenty-fourth regiment ... 62 
Tyrol, flag of the 102 


Union between England and 

Scotland 45 

Union between Great Britain 

and Ireland 50,52 

Union flag, i, 4, 45, 47, 50, 54, 61 
Union flag of Sweden and 

Norway 116 

Union Jack 47.48 

Union Steamship Company's 

flag 75 

United Italy 113 

United States of America, 

flag of ... 86,89,90.91 

Universal code for signalling 28 
Urgency flag signals .. 136 

Uri, flag of Canton of ... 116 

Uruguay, flag of 122 

Utilisation of liners as 
cruisers 57 


Valence, banner of Sir Aymer 

de ii 

Valkyrie, flag of the yacht ... 73 
Variation in size a sign of 

rank 17 

Venezuela, flag of 23, 122, 123 

Venice, obsolete flags of ... 27 

Versailles, palace of ... 97 
Vessels spoken at sea 139, 140 
Viceroy of India, flag of . . 65, 81 

Victoria Cross 63 

Victoria, flag of colony of ... 80 
Victualling Department, flag 

of 7i 

Virginia, settlement of ... 86 
Virgin Mary on flag ... 6 

Vocabulary signals 137 

Voldermirz, arms of ... 102 

Vowel flags objectionable 138, 139 


Waldeck, flag of ._ ... 101 

War cries 37 

War songs 95, 98 

Warriors' Chapel at Canter- 
bury 66,67 

Washington, arms of ...91, 93 
" Watch upon the Rhine"... 98 

Waterloo, battle of 70 

Weather signals ... 135, 137 
Wellington, funeral of Duke 

of 18,22 

West Africa, device of ... 84 
Western Australia, device of 84 
Western Australia, gov- 
ernor's flag 81 

West Prussia, flag of ... 98 
White cross of France ... 107 
White elephant of Siam ... 125 
White ensign . . . 40, 55 , 59 . 72 

White horse of Hanover ...63, 66 
White horse of Kent ... 36 
White Star Line, house flag 

of 57.75 

Why called " Jack " ... 48 

William III . . standard of ... 35 
Wreath on flag ... 63, 66, 81 

Wolf as a device 2 

Wurtemburg, flag of ... 101 


Yacht flags TOO, 138 

Yellow flag, its significance, 24, 59 
York, livery colours of house 

of 31 



1 Banner of Sir John Botetourte. 

2 Banner of Sir Ralph de Mont- 


3 Banner of Sir Hugh Touches. 

4 Banner of Sir William de 


5 Banner of Sir Hugh Bardolph. 

6 Banner of Sir John de Holder- 


7 Banner of Sir Henri de Percy. 

8 Banner of Sir Hugh de 


9 Banner of Sir Aymer de 


10 Banner of Sir John de Bar. 

11 Banner of Sir William de 



12 Percy Flag, Crescent Badge. 

13 Arctic Sledge-flag, Expedition 

of 1875-76. 

14 The Percy Standard. 

15 Standard of Sir Thomas de 


16 Arctic Sledge-flag, Expedition 

of 1875-76. 

17 Banner of St. Edmund. 

18 Banner of Simon deMontfort. 

19 Banner of St. Edward. 


20 Streamer, Tudor Fleur-de-Lys 

Badge, 1520. 

21 Streamer, Tudor Portcullis 

Badge, 1520. 

22 Standard of Henry VIII. 

23 Streamer, Tudor Rose Badge, 


24 Streamer, Tudor Red Dragon 

Badge, 1520. 

25 Pendant of H.M.S. Lion. 

26 Pendant of H.M.S. Tiger. 

27 Pendant of Warship of 1520. 


28 Guidon form of Flag. 

29 Abnormal form of Pennon. 

30 Lancer Pennon of present day. 

31 Pennon, Royal Horse Artillery, 


32 Flag from Early German Book. 

33 Modification of Pennon form. 

34 Flag of H.M.S. Niger. 1797. 

35 Ecclesiastical Flag, MS. British 


36 Burgee, the Ducal Shipping 


37 Early form of Banner, MS. 

British Museum. 

38 Burgee.McIver's Shipping Line 
39, 40, 41, 42 Examples from 

Bayeux Tapestry. 4 illus. 


43 The Royal Standard 'of King 

George III. 

44 The Royal Standard of Queen 



45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51 Illustra- 
tions of perverted ingenuity 
and crass ignorance, taken 
from street decorations on 
occasions of general rejoicing. 


52, 53 Flags from early Spanish 
Map in British Museum, 1502 

54, 55 Early Portuguese Flags, 
British Museum. 

56 The Guinea Company. 

57 East India Company. 

58 Early form of Algerian Flag. 

59 Russian- American Company. 

60 Early English War Flag. 

61 Heligoland Flag during British 


62 The Flag of Savoy. 

63 Flag of the Grand Seigneur, 

64 Turkish Flag. 




65 Ship Flag, Reign of George I. 

66 Early form of Red Ensign. 

67 .London Train Bands : The 

Blue Regiment, 1643. 

68 London Train Bands: The 

Yellow Regiment, 1643. 

69 Flag of Warship, i6th Century. 

70 Flag of H.M.S. Tiger. 

71 St. George, and Tudor Livery 


72 London Train Bands : The 

Green Regiment, 1643. 

73 Flag of Union of England and 


74 Pendant of H.M.S. Lion, 1745. 

75 Scottish Blue Ensign. 

76 Scottish Red Ensign 

77 Banner of St. Alban's Abbey. 

78 Jack of Warship of the i6th 


79 Suggested forms for Union 

Flag, 1801. 


80 Early Union Flag, England 

and Scotland. 

8 1 Commonwealth Flag, England 

and Scotland. 

82 Commonwealth Flag, England 

and Ireland. 

83 Standard of Cromwell. 

84 Scotch suggestion for Union 

Flag, 1801. 

85 Flag of Commonwealth. 

86 Commonwealth Flag of Eng- 

land and Ireland. 

87 Early Form of Irish Flag, MS. 

in British Museum. 
88, 89 Suggested Forms for second 
Union Jack. 


90 Union Flag of Great Britain 

and Ireland. 

91 Cross of St. George of England. 

92 Cross of St. Andrew of Scot- 


93 Cross of St. Patrick of Ireland. 

94 Regimental Colours : 24th of 

the Line, the 2nd Warwick- 
shire Regiment. 


95 The W r hite Ensign, Man-of- War 

96 The Blue Ensign .Naval Reserve 

97 The Red Ensign, Merchant 


98 Victualling Service. 

99 Admiralty Flag. 

100 Ranelagh Yacht Club. 

101 Yare Yacht Club. 

102 Royal Thames Yacht Club. 

103 Dublin Bay Yacht Club. 

104 Pilot Jack. 

105 Board of Trade Flag. 

106 Flag of Lord-Lieutenant of 


107 Customs House Flag. 

1 08 Ordnance Flag. 


109 Green's Blackwall Line, 
no Cunard Line, Liverpool. 

in Peninsular and Oriental Com- 

112 Australasian Naval Company. 

113 Devitt & Moore, London. 

114 Canadian Pacific Company. 

115 Donald Currie & Co., London. 

116 Union Steamship Company, 


117 Mediterranean and New York 

Shipping Company. 

118 Houlder Brothers & Com- 

pany, London. 

119 White Star Line, Liverpool. 

120 New Zealand Shipping Com- 


121 Britannia i H.R.H. the Prince 

of Wales. 

122 Ailsa, A. B. Walker, Esq. 

123 Valkyrie, The Earl of Dunraven 

124 Hester, Major W. H. Gretton. 

125 Dream, W. H. Jones, Esq. 

126 Car ina, Admiral Montague. 


127 Cape Colony, Government. 

128 Queensland, Government. 

129 Canada, Commercial. 

130 Canada, Government. 

131 Badge of Straits Settlements. 

132 Badge of British North Borneo 

133 Badge of Tasmania. 

134 Victoria, Commercial. 

135 Victoria, Government. 

136 Badge of New Zealand. 


PLATE X\\\. -continued. 

137 Badge of Fiji. 

138 Badge of New South Wales. 

139 Flag of Viceroy of India. 

140 Portion of Pendant, Govern- 

ment Colonial vessels. 

141 Governors' Flag, West Aus- 



142 American Insurgent Flag, 1775 

143 Admiral's Flag, U.S. Navy. 

144 Flag used at Bunker's Hill. 

145 American Pine-tree Flag. 

146 The Stars and Stripes of the 

United States. 

147 NewEnglandNavyFlag,i776. 

148 Massachusetts Flag, 1775. 

149 Pine-tree and Stripes. 

150 Early American Flag, 

151 Portion of Pendant.U.S. Navy. 


152 Confederate States of America 

153 Confederate, the Southern 


154 Southern Cross, modified. 

155 South Carolina State Flag, 


156 Louisiana State Flag. 

157 Chili, portion of Pendant. 

158 South Carolina, 1775. 

159 South Carolina State Flag, 


1 60 Texas State Flag. 

161 Chili, Commercial. 

162 Guatemala, Flag of 1851. 

163 Gautemala, Flag of 1858. 


164 Colombia (formerly New 

Granada), Commercial. 

165 Uruguay, General Service. 

1 66 Guatemala, Government. 

167 Costa Rica, Commercial. 

168 Paraguay, Government. 

169 Brazil, General Service. 

170 Venezuela, Commercial. 

171 Bolivia, Commercial. 

172 Mexico, Government. 

173 Portion of Pendant, Brazil. 

174 Peru, Government. 

175 San Sal vador.General Service. 

176 Argentine, Government. 

177 Ecuador, Government. 

178 Hayti, Commercial. 


179 Oriflamme. 

Jgj Early French forms of Flag 

182 Soissonois Flag. 

183 Bourbon Flag. 

184 Standard of Charles VI 

185 Standard, French. 

186 Man-of-War Pendant. 

187 Standard, French. 

188 Flag of French Guards, 1563 

189 Flag of Republic, France. 

190 Tricolor of 1790. 

191 Modern French Tricolor. 


192 Spain, War. 

193 Spain, Commercial. 

194 Royal Standard of Spain. 

195 Portugal, Royal Standard. 

196 Portugal, General Service. 

197 Italy, Commercial. 

198 Papal Merchant (obsolete). 


199 Saxony. 

200 Waldeck. 

201 Saxe Weimar. 

202 Pomerania. 

203 Wurtemburg. 

204 Oldenburg. 

205 Mecklenburg Strelitz. 

206 Brunswick. 

207 German Empire, War Ensign. 

208 German Empire, Jack. 

209 Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. 

210 Schomberg Lippe. 

211 West Prussia. 

212 Hesse. 

213 Austria, Government. 

214 Austro - Hungarian, Com 


215 Russian Jack. 

216 Poland. 


217 Russian Man-of-War. 

218 Russia, Commercial. 

219 Early Form of Russian Ensign 

220 Russia, Consul General. 

221 Russia, Charge d'Affaires. 

222 Russia, Ambassador or 


223 Russia, Transport Service. 

224 Danish Man-of-War. 

225 Danish, Commercial. 


PLATE XX.-continued. 

226 Russian Imperial Standard. 

227 Swedish, Commercial. 

228 Norwegian Man-of-War. 

229 Union Flag of Sweden and 


230 Flag of Norway. 

231 Flag of Sweden. 

232 Switzerland. 


233 Greece, Commercial Flag. 

234 Italian Jack. 

235 Turkey. Commercial. 

236 Belgium, Commercial. 

237 Holland, Royal Standard. 

238 Turkey, Standard. 

239 Turkey, Government. 

240 Tunis, Government. 


241 Bulgaria. 

242 Roumania. 

243 Servia. 

244 Japanese Ensign. 

245 Japanese Imperial Standard. 

246 Japanese Transport Flag. 

247 Chinese Merchant Flag. 

248 Japanese Guard Flag. 

249 Orange Free State. 

250 Liberia. 

251 Congo State. 

252 Rajah of Sarawak. 

253 South African Republic. 


254 to 267 Fourteen Flags from the 

Signal Code of the Royal 

268 Special Flag of the Coast 


269 to 278 Code of Sir Hope Pop- 

ham, used by Nelson at 
Trafalgar, &c. 10 illus. 

279 to 286 Special Battle Signals, 
code suggested in 1 788. 8 illus. 

287 to 296 Numerical Code. Sig- 
nal Code of 1788. 10 illus. 

297 to 306 Pilot Signals of various 
Nationalities. 10 illus. 


307 to 324 The Flags of the Inter- 
national Code. 1 8 illus. 

325 The Signal-hoist for the Eddy- 

stone Lighthouse, B.D.T.F. 

326 Code-signal for the Port of 

London, B.D.P.Cj. 

327 Code-signal of SS. Germanic, 


328 Code-signal of the Hesperus, 


329 Code-signal of H.M.S. De- 

vastation, G.R.C.T. 

330 "Do you wish to be reported?" 


331 " All safe !" V.K.C. 

332 " Report me to Lloyd's 

Agent." P.D.S. 

333 "Do you want assistance?" 


334 " Has any accident hap- 

pened ? " B.G.H. 


335 to 339 Signal Flags of SS. 

Australia, Arcadia, Massilia, 
Victoria, Bengal. (Are all 
Vessels in the P. & O.) 

340 to 344 Signal Flags of SS. 
Oroya, Orient, Ophir, Orotava, 
Ormuz. (Are all Vessels of 
the Orient Line.) 

345 to 349 Signal Flags of SS. 
La Touraine, Lafayette, Ville- 
de-Tanger, Amerique, Saint- 
Germain. (Are all Vessels of 
the Compagnie Generale 


350 to 354 Flag-signals of some of 

the numerous Victorias on the 

Shipping List. 
355 to 359 Flag-signals of some of 

the numerous Australias on 

the Shipping List. 
360 to 364 Flag-signals of some of 

the numerous Britannias on 

the Shipping List. 

The Botolph Printing Works, Crosskey Square, Little Britain, E.G. 

PL.ATK -5 







* ** 













PLATE 22. 



288 289 1 

d : j ; 

294 295 

298 299 300 301 

r^ss] r 

L" J U 

302 303 

SOS 306 


PLATE 26. 

A 000 034 950 6